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Alcoa preps for new business from automakers

Published:Friday | January 24, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Finshed rolls of aluminium sheeting. - File

Alcoa Inc has completed the expansion of a plant in Iowa, which will produce aluminium sheet products for the automotive industry, amid expectations that aluminium demand from the sector will double by 2025.

Alcoa invested US$300 million in the expansion.

The amount of aluminium body sheet content in North American vehicles is expected to quadruple by 2015 and increase tenfold by 2025 from 2012 levels, Alcoa said in a statement issued during the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit last week.

"2014 marks the beginning of dramatic growth for aluminium in the auto sector," said Alcoa Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Klaus Kleinfeld.

"Automakers are increasingly choosing aluminium as a cost-effective way to improve the performance, safety, durability and fuel efficiency of their vehicles. Our project in Iowa is the first of three capacity expansions we have underway to meet this growing demand."

It was reported that Ford Motor Company announced last week that the 2015 model of Ford's F-150 truck would be made almost entirely of aluminium instead of steel.

Also said it has already secured long-term supply agreements for the Iowa plant products, and is currently adding automotive capacity in Tennessee, to be completed by mid-2015; and that a joint-venture rolling mill in Saudi Arabia should be finalised by the end of this year.

The total investment in all three projects is US$670 million, Alcoa said.