Automobile manufacturers are increasingly looking to aluminium as they try to reduce the weight of cars and trucks to meet more stringent US fuel-economy standards, according to one industry association.
Aluminium is the leading metal for engines and wheels and is quickly gaining ground in hoods, trunks and doors, the Aluminum Association said in a recent release, citing a study by Troy, Michigan-based market research firm Ducker Worldwide.
Evidence of those gains has been on display at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week, where a host of cars and trucks use more aluminium than before and deploy the metal in more innovative ways, the association said.
Among them is the 2013 Honda Accord, which features an aluminium hood, subframe and rear bumper; the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado pick-up, which has an aluminium bonnet as well as aluminium suspension and engine components; and the 2014 Maserati Quattroporte, which has body panels made from aluminium, the association said.
“Reducing weight with aluminum allows automakers to cost-effectively make vehicles that go farther on a gallon of [fuel], helping them meet new fuel-economy standards,” Randall Scheps, chairman of the association’s Aluminum Transportation Group and marketing director for Pittsburgh-based Alcoa Inc., said in a statement.
Automakers are looking to boost aluminium use in the average vehicle from 327 pounds in 2009 to 550 pounds by 2025, the Arlington, Virginia-based association said.
Aluminium and steel have long battled for automotive market share, with steel historically dominating the sector. Steelmakers contend that advanced high-strength steels (AHSSs) may prove more alluring to automakers working to cut the weight of vehicles.