NEW YORK Alcoa
Inc.s $300-million automotive expansion at its Davenport,
Iowa, facility wont be enough to meet future demand from
the sector, chairman and chief executive officer Klaus
Kleinfeld said in a conference call with analysts following the
release of the companys first-quarter earnings
"I can tell you Davenport is not
enough," he said. "Davenport is basically sold out even though
we havent even built the automotive (expansion)."
Kleinfeld maintains that this is
"more good news than bad news," adding that the company has
options that will allow it to "do some things that we probably
could not have done before."
He declined to discuss what the
companys plans are or name its customers.
"Growth prospects remain
excellent" for the North American automotive industry, as new
vehicle sales hit 1.54 million units in the first three months
of the year, a 3.4-percent year-on-year increase, Kleinfeld
Aluminum usage in automobiles is
forecast to double to 16 percent by 2025 as automakers continue
to shift toward the lightweight metal to meet stricter fuel
emissions standards coming out of Washington.
Perhaps more important than
regulations is consumer behavior, Kleinfeld said, noting that
37 percent of consumers rank fuel economy as the top factor
when buying a new car.
Bullish automotive forecasts
encouraged Alcoa to begin the $300-million expansion at
Davenport last March (
amm.com, March 5, 2012), which also involves
installing new technology and equipment aimed at the
companys new 951 bonding technology, which Alcoa can
license to automakers (
amm.com, April 5).
The expansion coincided with
Ford Motor Co.s announcement that it will build future
versions of its F-150 pickup with a predominantly aluminum body
amm.com, July 27).