A major motivation for the development of new vehicle structures is, apart from the reduction of fuel consumption, is to decrease emissions which affect the climate. Therefore we also have to look at the reduction of vehicle weight and consequently at various strategies for lightweight construction. In the future steel structure concepts still show lightweight potential. But even more attractive potential for lightweight body in white structures could be realised by new multi-material design concepts and highly integrated light metal applications. Today’s research activities are focussed on the area of multi-material design, with the objective of placing the material with the best properties for the given requirements in the right position. Based on various methods of lightweight construction, techniques and tools, it is possible to find an optimum between lightweight design and costs. These activities will be illustrated by several research examples. One example will be the lightweight concept of the front module developed by the Institute of Vehicle Concepts (DLR) in the European research project -‘Super Light Car’ (SLC). By using aluminium in the front structure and the high pressure die casting strut tower the concept has a weight benefit of 32% compared to a steel reference structure. The methodology for reaching targets and requirements like weight reduction, crash performance and cost targets will be explained. Another example is a concept which is developed in the DLR project ‘Novel Vehicle Structures’. This concept shows the combination of different materials and a new construction method to increase front impact crash performance.