As part of their ever-increasing efforts to maximize fuel economy, carmakers are frequently using aluminum for body panels instead of steel to save weight.
According to a study of automakers conducted by Ducker Worldwide, by 2025 more than 75 percent of all new pickup trucks produced in North America will be aluminum-bodied. This confirms a major breakthrough for automotive aluminum into high-volume vehicles. According to the study Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler will become the biggest users of aluminum sheet in the next decade. It also forecasts that the number of vehicles with complete aluminum body structures will reach 18 percent of North American production, from less than one percent today. The emerging aluminum content leaders are pickup trucks, SUVs and both mid-sized and full-size sedans.
By 2025 every leading automaker will have numerous aluminum body and closure programs. The use of aluminum sheet for vehicle bodies was 200 million pounds in 2012 and is said to increase to 4 billion pounds by 2025, this is due to the continued dramatic change in material mix for body and closure parts.
“The numbers tell a powerful story of aluminum’s explosive growth across the automotive sector,” said Tom Boney, chairman of the Aluminum Association’s Aluminum Transportation Group and vice president and general manager of automotive for Novelis in North America. “Within the next ten years, seven out of 10 new pickups produced in North America will be aluminum-bodied, and so too will be more than 20 percent of SUVs and full–sized sedans.”
“Aluminum-bodied cars and trucks are coming in a big way and soon. Consumers won’t visibly notice a different metal under the paint, but they’ll see greater savings at the gas pump and experience better performance and handling at the wheel,” added Boney.