Optical fibers have been used for data communications in automobiles for several years. The fiber of choice thus far has been a plastic core/plastic clad optical fiber (POF) consisting of the plastic polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA). The POF fiber provides a low cost fiber with relatively easy termination. However, increasing demands regarding temperature performance, transmission losses and bandwidth have pushed the current limits of the POF fiber, and the automotive industry is now moving towards an optical fiber with a silica glass core/plastic clad (PCS). PCS optical fibers have been used successfully in industrial, medical, sensor, military and data communications systems for over two decades. The PCS fiber is now being adapted specifically for automotive use. In the following, the design criteria and design alternatives for the PCS as well as optical, thermal, and mechanical testing results for key automotive parameters are described. The fiber design tested was 200&mu;m synthetic silica core/230&mu;m fluoropolymer cladding/1510&mu;m nylon buffer. Key attributes such as 700 - 900 nm spectral attenuation, 125°C thermal soak, -40 to 125°C thermal cycling, bending losses, mechanical strength, termination capability, and cost are discussed and compared. Overall, a specifically designed PCS fiber is expected to be acceptable for the use in an automotive data bus, and will show improvement in optical transmission, temperature range and bandwidth. However, the final selection of buffer and jacket materials and properties will be most dependent on the selection of a reliable and economical termination method.