Aluminum Use Grows; Steel Continues to Lose Vehicle Market Share
Automakers are expected to increase their use of aluminum from 327 pounds in 2009 to 550 pounds in 2025, according to a 2011 survey of automakers conducted by Ducker Worldwide. Aluminum is already the leading material in the engine and wheel markets and is fast-gaining market share in hoods, trunks and doors. A host of automakers announced plans to increase their use of aluminum even more.
Aluminum makes vehicles lighter, stronger, durable and more fuel efficient, while delivering the highest safety and driving performance standards – all the qualities consumers demand. Reducing weight with aluminum allows automakers to cost-effectively make vehicles that go farther on a gallon of gas, helping them meet new federal efficiency standards.
The Shift to Aluminum
As consumers demand safe and affordable, yet high performing vehicles that optimize fuel economy and do less harm to the environment, automotive aluminum use is at an all-time high and automakers are projecting average vehicle aluminum content to nearly double by 2025.
Full-bodied aluminum and aluminum intensive vehicles are already common in high end luxury and performance cars – now those successes are speeding the shift to aluminum away from other materials in the manufacturing of high volume passenger vehicles.
And as heavy truck makers build upgraded freight haulers to carry more payloads while saving fuel and cutting tailpipe emissions, aluminum use in commercial vehicles will continue to rise, too.
Aluminum’s Growth Is Accelerating Because It Builds a Better Vehicle:
- Automotive aluminum use has grown steadily for 40 years as automakers increasingly use the metal for its environmental, safety and performance advantages.
- Currently the leading material in powertrain and wheel applications, automotive aluminum is quickly gaining market share in hoods, trunks, doors and bumpers.
- A survey of North American automakers conducted by Ducker Worldwide found that automakers will increase their use of aluminum from 327 pounds in 2009 to 550 pounds in 2025, doubling aluminum’s percent of vehicle curb weight from 8 to 16 percent.
- Today, the average Class 8 commercial truck uses over 1,000 pounds of aluminum. This is expected to increase to 3,300 pounds as heavy-duty vehicle producers pursue improvements in overall vehicle efficiency and reduced operating costs.
- Reducing vehicle weight with aluminum allows vehicles to offer the same performance with smaller engines, improving fuel efficiency and enabling a potential cost savings.
- High strength steel will reach maximum potential in limited applications since it saves weight via gauge reduction, which only goes so far in hoods, deck lids, doors and fenders.