Auto, aero to lift aluminum use: Kaiser

Oct 17, 2012 | 03:34 PM | Suzy Waite

Tags  AEC, Jack Hockema, aluminum, Kaiser Aluminum, Aluminum Extruders Council, Aluminum Association, automotive, aerospace Suzy Waite

CHICAGO — Kaiser Aluminum Corp. maintains its bullish forecast for the automotive and aerospace industries, president and chief executive officer Jack Hockema said Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Aluminum Association and Aluminum Extruders Council.

North American automotive build rates will hit 20 million vehicles annually by 2016 and 2017, up significantly from 12.5 million units in 2009, according to Hockema’s estimates.

Aluminum stands to benefit from this growth as car manufacturers continue to move toward the lightweight metal in efforts to meet stricter emissions standards by 2025.

Kaiser also expects an uptick in car purchases as consumers look to replace older models—purchases many put off in 2008 and 2009 due to the recession.

U.S. drivers’ attitudes toward fuel-efficient cars have also shifted noticeably, Hockema added.

"Consumer appetites (for lightweight vehicles) have increased because of higher fuel costs," he said. "(High fuel costs) are driving consumers beyond regulation."....

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