This paper deals with the integration of a vehicle body concept modeling methodology, based on reduced models of beams, joints and panels, with flexible Multi-body (MB) representation of the chassis of a passenger car. The aim is to enable ride and handling simulations in the initial phases of the vehicle design process, where the availability of predictive Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) tools is a key factor to steer design choices such that a faster convergence of the vehicle development cycle towards improved products is achieved.

The proposed approach is demonstrated on an industrial case study, involving a commercial passenger car, for which a detailed chassis and suspension model for MB simulations is developed in LMS Virtual.Lab Motion. A flexible concept model of the vehicle’s Body In White (BIW) is created as well and included in the MB model to enable fast investigations on how ride and handling performance of the full vehicle are affected by body modifications.

To demonstrate the validity of the resulting concept model, a number of standard handling manoeuvres and ride excitations are simulated by using both the flexible MB model described above and a rigid MB model of the vehicle, which is derived from the same FE model. The numerical results are compared to allow assessing the influence of body flexibility on the predicted handling and ride behaviour of the vehicle.

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