As Presented at the 2012 SAE World Congress
Detroit – Building upon forty years of uninterrupted growth, aluminum’s market penetration in the construction of new cars, SUVs, pickups and minivans is projected to double over the next decade as a result of the environmental, performance, safety and design benefits it delivers. This is according to a survey of automakers as presented today at the 2012 SAE World Congress by Randall Scheps, Chairman, the Aluminum Association’s Aluminum Transportation Group (ATG) and Marketing Director – Automotive for Alcoa.
According to the latest findings of a North American Survey conducted by Ducker Worldwide, automakers are increasingly looking at aluminum to serve as a cornerstone in safely and cost-effectively downweighting vehicles to meet increasingly stringent fuel economy and emissions standards. Automakers will expand their use of aluminum to ultimately reduce average overall vehicle weight by 400 pounds per vehicle in 2015/2016. Longer term, aluminum is expected to double its share of the average automotive materials mix to 16 percent by 2025 with future cars and light trucks reaching a predicted average of 550 pounds per vehicle.
“Due to its performance and durability advantages, automotive aluminum already owns the engine and wheel market. Today the metal is making aggressive inroads to hoods, trunks and doors as more and more automakers pursue holistic downweighting strategies to boost fuel economy and cut emissions,” said Scheps. “As consumers demand safe and affordable, yet high performing vehicles that optimize fuel economy and are less harmful to the planet, aluminum is expected to double its share of the automotive materials mix by 2025. Make no mistake, mass produced, high volume aluminum vehicles are coming. A generation ago we saw it in consumer beverage packaging and today we are seeing it in the automobile: traditional materials increasingly will be displaced by advanced aluminum alloys because the metal’s low weight, high strength, carbon reducing and highly recyclable properties will drive market evolution to address evolving consumer demands.”
Other Highlights from the Survey
- The average increase in aluminum content since 1975 has been 7 pounds per year per light vehicle.
- Automakers will, on average, seek to lower the weight of cars and light trucks by 400 pounds each by 2025.
- Market factors already in place are projected to push aluminum content to 400 pounds per vehicle in 2015/2016.
- Aluminum is gaining market share at the expense of both traditional and high strength steels which are declining as a percentage of vehicle makeup.
- 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.
To download the Ducker Report and for more information, please visit www.aluminumintransportation.org.
About the Aluminum Association
Through its Aluminum Transportation Group, the Aluminum Association communicates the benefits of aluminum in ground transportation applications to help accelerate its penetration through research programs and related outreach activities. The ATG’s mission is to serve member companies and act as a central resource for the automotive and commercial vehicle industries on aluminum issues. Members of the ATG include: Alcoa Inc., Novelis Inc., Rio Tinto Alcan, Aluminum Precision Products Inc., Kaiser Aluminum Corporation, Hydro and Sapa Group.