/ Aluminum Advantages / Safety


Crash Test EngineerAmong the biggest safety advances in today’s cars and trucks are the front- and rear-end crumple zones (also called crush zones). In a crash, these zones are designed to both absorb the energy from the impact and deflect it away from vehicle occupants. The material chosen for these lifesaving designs is vital to their success. Enter aluminum.

Absorbing an Impact

Crushed AluminumThe superior energy absorption properties of high-strength aluminum alloys, matched with intelligent vehicle design, make aluminum components and aluminum intensive vehicles among the very safest on the road.

Aluminum structures can be designed to fold predictably during a crash, such as in this Ferrari crash where the driver walks away. This ensures the vehicle – not its occupants – absorb more of the destructive crash energy forces.

Bigger IS Better

Another key safety factor is vehicle size: In a crash, larger is generally better than smaller, and size is generally more important than weight. To conserve fuel and reduce emissions, aluminum can safely reduce vehicle weight (up to 40% according to a report from the University of Aachen, Germany) while maintaining or even increasing vehicle size for greater crash protection.

Audi A8

Federal regulators and leading U.S. and international automakers agree that well-designed, lower weight vehicles can be as safe as or even safer than heavier vehicles—and they all meet or exceed the toughest federal safety standards.

Advanced aluminum alloys, matched with an advanced aluminum design, helped Audi’s A8 achieve a perfect 5-Star safety rating. Aluminum components allow the vehicle to achieve a 25 percent strength and stiffness increase, while reducing vehicle weight by 20 percent

Stars2012 Aluminum Intensive Vehicles Earn
NHTSA Five-Star Safety Ratings

2012 BMW 5 Series

2012 BMW 5-Series

  • BMW forms the bodywork from aluminum.
  • Nearly all the suspension components are aluminum, as is half the driveshaft.

2012 Toyota Prius

2012 Toyota Prius

  • Weight is saved through use of aluminum in the hood, rear hatch, front suspension axle, and brake components.

2012 Acura ZDX

2012 Acura ZDX SUV

  • The hood, instrument panel support, and other areas of the 2012 Acura ZDX employ lightweight aluminum, bringing the entire car’s weight down to 4,410 pounds.

Aluminum Safety Advantages:

  • Pound for pound, aluminum can absorb twice as much crash energy as steel.
  • Aluminum can be used to maintain or even increase the size and energy absorption capacity of a vehicle’s critical front- and back-end crumple zones for added safety, without increasing overall weight.
  • Aluminum is designed to fold predictably during a crash, allowing the vehicle to absorb much of the crash energy, rather than its occupants.
  • Vehicles made lighter with aluminum require shorter stopping distances than heavier vehicles to help drivers avoid crashes altogether.

High-Aluminum Content Vehicles with Superb Crash Test Ratings

Aluminum intensive vehicles represent automotive safety at its best. Following are 2009 model year vehicles with more than 400 pounds of aluminum (or 10 percent of curb weight) and recipients of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) “Five-Star Safety Rating” for all categories (front – driver and passenger, side – front and back seats)

  • Acura MDX
  • Acura RL
  • Acura TL
  • Cadillac Escalade
  • Chevrolet Avalanche
  • Chevrolet Impala
  • Chevrolet Malibu
  • Chevrolet Suburban
  • Chevrolet Tahoe
  • Chevrolet Traverse
  • Dodge Caliber
  • Dodge Caravan
  • Dodge Challenger
  • Dodge Journey
  • Ford Explorer
  • Ford Mustang
  • Ford Taurus
  • GMC Yukon
  • Honda Odyssey
  • Honda Pilot
  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Lexus RX 350/450H
  • Lincoln Town Car
  • Nissan Altima - 4DR.
  • Nissan Maxima
  • Nissan Quest
  • Saturn Vue
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Subaru Tribeca
  • Toyota Avalon
  • Toyota Camry
  • Volvo XC90

*Please note list excludes vehicles not yet tested.

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