Ford seen boon for aluminum demand

Jan 23, 2014 | 10:02 AM | Michael Cowden

Tags  aluminum, Ford, F-150, material substitution, Alcoa, Richard Schultz, Ducker Worldwide, Lloyd O'Carroll O'Carroll Aluminum Bulletin

CHICAGO — The new aluminum-intensive body enclosure of the Ford F-150 pickup truck could use about 1,000 pounds of the light metal per vehicle, boosting total demand by at least 500 million pounds annually, according to industry analysts.

Much of that initial demand could be for primary metal, some analysts said, similar to the can market’s shift from steel to aluminum decades ago. The can sheet sector initially relied on primary metal for feedstock until enough scrap was generated to form a recycling network based on used beverage cans (UBCs), they said.

"Can sheet became a real product in the late 1960s, so it was the late ’70s, early ’80s before it became more than 50 percent scrap," said Lloyd O’Carroll, principal of O’Carroll Aluminum Bulletin. He predicted that it will be at least 10 years before scrap becomes a significant contender to primary metal as feedstock for auto body sheet, and that—unlike cans—auto might never shift to more than 50-percent recycled content, given the sector’s demanding specifications.....

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