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2013 Vehicles Demonstrate Aluminum Trend

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Jan. 14, 2013—Those looking for tangible proof of automakers’ trending shift from steel to aluminum can look no further than this week’s North American International Auto Show, beginning today in Detroit.

Major and independent manufacturers are displaying 2013 model vehicles at this week’s show, many showing the new and innovative ways aluminum alloys are being used over more traditional steel alloys.

Included in this showing is the world’s first all-aluminum SUV, the 2013 Range Rover, as well as the Tesla Model S, winner of numerous car-of-the-year awards.

Others include the 2013 Honda Accord, which features an aluminum hood, sub-frame, and rear bumper; the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado, which has an aluminum hood, suspension and engine components;  the 2014 GMC Sierra with its aluminum hood and suspension; the 2013 Cadillac ATS (aluminum hood and other components); the 2014 Maserati Quattroporte (aluminum body panels); the 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 (North American truck of the year finalist that features an aluminum hood); and the 2013 Scion FR-S, which also has an aluminum hood.

This increase in aluminum use on the show floor echoes findings from the latest survey of automakers by Ducker Worldwide that asserts automakers are accelerating their shift away from steel to aluminum to help meet consumer and federal fuel economy demands. The survey indicated that aluminum is not only the leading material in the engine and wheel markets, but fast-gaining market share in hoods, trunks and doors.

Automakers have said they plan to increase their use of aluminum from 327 pounds in 2009 to 550 pounds in 2025.

"More aluminum in the vehicles on the NAIAS floor bodes well for consumers and the cars and trucks they drive," said Randall Scheps , chairman of The Aluminum Association's Transportation Group (ATG) and marketing director for Alcoa, Inc. in a press release_notes. "Aluminum 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 aluminum allows automakers to cost-effectively make vehicles that go farther on a gallon of gas, helping them meet new fuel economy standards.”

As pressure mounts to meet higher fuel economy standards, automakers increasingly recognize the many benefits of down-weighting with aluminum.

Last year the aluminum industry released a report conducted by the AVL Group that showed no single technology approach by itself would cost effectively achieve the new 54.5 miles per gallon fuel economy target. The report showed that reducing vehicle weight is the one consistent and cost-effective strategy that can be combined with all other efficiency improvement strategies and technologies to meet the new target.

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