General Motors Co. has signed supply contracts with Alcoa Inc.
and Novelis Inc. ahead of plans to increase the use of aluminum
sheet in its next-generation pickup trucks by late 2018,
according to a Wall Street Journal report.
The move marks a major
shift in the use of aluminum sheet in domestic automotive
manufacturing and further bolsters the notion that
lightweighting has become the single-most important factor for
automakers looking to meet federal fuel-efficiency
Ford Motor Co. unveiled its aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150 last
amm.com, Jan. 13). "Its a changeover to our
manufacturing facilities, our stamping plants and body
construction facilities and assembly plants. But weve got
a lot of experience in aluminum already," Raj Nair, Fords
group vice president for product development, told AMM
during the unveiling at the North American International Auto
Show in Detroit. "Were spending over $1 billion at the
Kansas City plant (in Missouri) for the Ford Transit and the
would not confirm that the company had recently signed supply
contracts with GM. "While we cannot speak to any specific
customers or products, we anticipate more automakers, domestic
and international, to make announcements regularly in the
following years that will transform the automotive industry,"
Novelis North America president Marco Palmieri told
AMM, adding that the company works "closely with all
of the auto manufacturers to talk about design and technology
Palmieri noted that
"discussions about adopting more aluminum in a vehicle
typically happen years in advance as the use of aluminum
influences many other decisions in the manufacturing
In anticipation of the
spike in aluminum demand over the next decade, Novelis recently
invested in three automotive finishing lines that are
"dedicated to meeting the dramatic shift in demand for aluminum
used for automotive," Palmieri said. "Two of the lines are
running now and construction has begun on the third."
A spokeswoman for
Pittsburgh-based Alcoa also declined to comment on any
potential partnership with GM. "We dont comment on who
our customers are," she said. However, "were clearly
entering the era of the aluminum vehicle. Consumers are
demanding fuel efficiency without compromising safety, and
aluminum is the material of choice."
pointed to Alcoas multi-tiered expansion of its
automotive sheet production capabilities, including a
$300-million investment at the companys Davenport, Iowa,
amm.com, Jan. 14), a $275-million investment at
its plant in Alcoa, Tenn. (
May 2), and a $380-million investment at a production
facility in Saudi Arabia (
amm.com, Dec. 12, 2012).
Steel Market Development Institute declined to comment in
response to a question about how GMs increased aluminum
usage will impact the steel industry.