The amount of aluminum body sheet content in North American vehicles is expected by automakers to quadruple by 2015 and increase tenfold by 2025 from 2012 levels. This has benefits for fuel consumption, but also for the U.S. aluminum industry.
One good example of vehicle raising demand for the material is the 2015 Ford F-150; the 2014 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit currently displays a number of vehicles featuring large increases in aluminum content.
To answer this demand, Alcoa announced it has completed a $300 million expansion at its Davenport, Iowa facility dedicated to supplying aluminum sheet products to the automotive industry.
“2014 marks the beginning of dramatic growth for aluminum in the auto sector,” said Klaus Kleinfeld, Alcoa Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Automakers are increasingly choosing aluminum as a cost-effective way to improve the performance, safety, durability and fuel efficiency of their vehicles. Our project in Iowa is the first of three capacity expansions we have underway to meet this growing demand.”
In addition to its expansion in Iowa—for which long-term supply agreements have been secured—Alcoa is adding automotive capacity in Tennessee where a project is scheduled to be complete in mid-2015; and at its joint venture rolling mill in Saudi Arabia, to be complete by the end of 2014. Alcoa said is investing approximately $670 million in the three expansions.
Alcoa describes itself as the world’s leading producer of primary aluminum, as well as the world’s largest miner of bauxite and refiner of alumina.