DANA POINT, Calif.
The zinc and steel industries are
working to fight back against the move toward increased
aluminum in cars, an International Zinc Association (IZA)
Zinc and steel are
suffering the same percentage loss in the overall market as a
result of the move by Ford Motor Co. to use aluminum, IZA
director of technology and market development Frank Goodwin
said at the groups annual conference in California.
"Zinc and steel are
working to battle off the aluminum incursion, and its
going to be a difficult time for us," he said. "I think
weve got a good chance to beat back against this and
ensure the future for galvanized steel in automotives."
But it wont be
an easy task, he said.
pickup truckrevealed at the Detroit auto show last month
(amm.com, Jan. 13)could use about 600 pounds of
aluminum per vehicle, analysts estimate.
"The F-150 is the
largest-selling vehicle in North Americathe move to
aluminum is a huge step with major consequences for Ford, as
well as the zinc and steel industries," Goodwin said, adding
that the zinc industry is looking at a loss of between 10,000
and 18,000 tonnes of zinc annually due to the new F-150.
Goodwin told delegates
that 600 pounds of aluminum will replace 1,000 pounds of steel
in the F-150. It will also cost $800 more than the steel it
replaces, plus $1 billion to convert production lines.
The introduction of
the aluminum-intensive truck is part of Fords ongoing
effort to manufacture lightweight vehicles capable of exceeding
current fuel economy standards.
"Until now, the use of
aluminum in cars has been relatively small," Goodwin said.
Aluminum has mainly
been used in low-volume vehicles, as well as some
higher-volumes vehicles in "hang-on" parts like hood and truck
lids, such as on the BMW 3 series.
Ford has launched a
program allowing its dealerships with body shops to purchase
the tools needed to work on the 2015 F-150 pickup at a
significant discount, Goodwin said.
If insufficient body
shops retool, higher insurance rates will impact consumers, he
have continuously improved; advanced steels to meet the fuel
efficiency mandates for 2025 are nearing production," Goodwin
said. "The zinc industry has played a key role through the
Galvanized Autobody Partnership."
Between 2000 and 2013,
the partnerships work helped ensure that the average auto
content of advanced high-strength steels went from zero to 200
pounds, fighting off competition from other materials like
aluminum and plastics.
Its a completely
different story in China and India, where the growing auto
market uses relatively little zinc.
offence in China and India to bring the countries up to the
level of galvanized steel we have in North America and Europe,"
Less than 20 percent
of Chinas 20 million vehicles contain galvanized
material. In India, the figure is just 3 percent.
"This gives us a
market potential of 750,000 tonnes of annual zinc production,"