Automakers can conform to pressures of increasing gas mileage and reducing CO2 emissions through weight reduction of vehicles with the use of composite and fibre metal laminate (FML) materials. An important safety equivalency characteristic of these lightweight materials that must be studied is their impact resistance compared to that of traditionally used automotive materials; steel and aluminum. Low-velocity impact (LVI) and quasi-static indentation (QSI) testing was conducted on thin composite and FML panels to assess their applicability in impact prone automotive components. To aide in the impact assessment of the lightweight materials a novel approach was developed to determine the strain and visible damage evolution within specimens through the use of digital imaging correlation (DIC) technology in quasi-static indentation tests. Simulating dynamic impact events with quasi-static loads was also evaluated and its limitations were discussed.