DETROIT: On display at this year’s North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is a variety of vehicles that share a key critical ingredient: growing use of advanced aluminium alloys over more traditional materials. Aluminium’s low weight, high strength, durability and energy-absorbing properties make it attractive to automakers looking to improve vehicle fuel economy while providing the safety and performance that consumers expect. The NAIAS that ran from January 19 will last till January 27 at Detroit’s Cobo Centre.
This increase in aluminium use on the show floor echoes findings from the latest survey of automakers by Ducker Worldwide that indicates automakers are accelerating their shift away from steel to aluminium to help meet the fuel economy demands. The survey indicated not only is aluminium already leading material in engine and wheel markets, but is gaining market share in hoods, trunks and doors, with the next frontier being full body structures. Automakers have said they plan to increase their use of aluminium from 327 pounds in 2009 to 550 pounds in 2025.
“More aluminium in the vehicles on the NAIAS floor bodes well for consumers and the cars and trucks they drive,” said Randall Scheps, chairman of the Aluminium Association’s Transportation Group and marketing director for Alcoa Inc. “Aluminium makes these vehicles lighter, stronger, durable and more fuel efficient, while delivering the highest safety and driving performance standards — all the qualities consumers are looking for in a car or truck. Further, reducing weight with aluminium allows automakers to cost effectively make vehicles that go farther on a gallon of gas, helping them meet new fuel economy standards.”