This paper describes the application of the finite element technique to the static stress analysis of composite structures. The structure analysed was the engine oil sump pan designed for a small European car. The sump was manufactured from 6 ply glass fibre reinforced plastic.Several finite element models of the sump were developed to establish an optimum model. The finalized finite element model was used to predict displacements of the sump and normal stress distribution in various plies of the sump due to service loads. The predicted ply stresses from the finite element analysis were experimentally verified. Ply failure index in some cases were predicted. As a comparative measure an identical steel sump was also analysed.