NEW YORK Alcoa Inc. has
presented a bullish outlook for the North American automotive
and commercial building and construction end-markets, with
chairman and chief executive officer Klaus Kleinfeld
forecasting production of "roughly 16 million vehicles" in
The company expects domestic
automotive production to grow as much as 4 percent in 2013
compared with the previous year, he said, noting that the
relatively meager growth followed a year in which auto
production climbed 16 to 17 percent.
"That (growth) would put
production in 2013 roughly at 16 million vehicles, which is
close to pre-recession levels," Kleinfeld said in a conference
call with analysts following the release of the companys
2012 earnings results.
The Pittsburgh-based aluminum
producer also projected the domestic building and construction
market would grow in 2013, with housing starts expected to rise
27 percent and nonresidential contracts awarded by 6
"This is the most positive
surprise. We are expecting growth of 1 to 2 percent for the
first time in the last four years," Kleinfeld said.
While North American heavy truck
and trailer output is expected to fall 15 to 19 percent in
2013, the "underlying fundamentals are still strong," with the
average fleet age coming in at 11 years, he said.
Meanwhile, the North American
beverage can packaging market is expected to be flat in