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January 6, 2003

Alcoa and General Motors Combine Design, Engineering Talents to Create Cadillac Sixteen Concept Car, an Ultimate Luxury Sedan

PITTSBURGH--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 6, 2003--General Motors and Alcoa (NYSE:AA) have combined their design and engineering talents to create the Cadillac Sixteen concept, an ultimate luxury sedan. The Sixteen represents the successful integration of the art of design and styling with the science of aluminum structural design and advanced manufacturing technologies.

"Working with General Motors to help them create this intriguing sedan presented Alcoa with the opportunity to demonstrate more than two decades of structural design and engineering expertise. The Sixteen's aluminum auto structure is unique in its capacity to meet significant vehicle performance, occupant comfort and safety requirements while accommodating the sedan's aesthetic needs," according to Robert S. Hughes, Alcoa's Executive Vice President in charge of the automotive market sector.

The Cadillac Sixteen has also become a demonstrator for leading-edge automotive aluminum engineering. Alcoa has integrated a number of its latest automotive technologies into this vehicle. "Whether the requirement is for energy-absorbing bumpers, or for an upper body design supporting GM's desire for an unparalleled passenger view, or for the assurance that the Sixteen will be easily recyclable, Alcoa's aluminum structure and body panels deliver against all of these needs," Hughes added.

"Because the 16-cylinder engine will be the jewel of this concept vehicle, we asked Alcoa to provide an engine compartment that would also be an appropriate setting," said David Bolognino, GM's project manager for the Sixteen. "Working together, we were able to accomplish this task by taking a different approach to distributing the forces from the wheels and suspension components throughout the body."

"Helping GM achieve their unique goals for making the Sixteen the ultimate in passenger comfort and safety mandated a significant departure from traditional structural design and engineering," according to Eric F.M. Winter, Alcoa Automotives' Vice President of Engineering. "We accomplished this by integrating advanced materials, such as aluminum-foam floor composite panels, with different product forms, including large, complex castings, hydroformed extrusions and formed sheet."

The Sixteen's body structure meets GM's torsion and bending stiffness requirements while providing a 50% weight savings over comparable steel structures. The Sixteen's aluminum structure weighs about the same as that a conventional, mid-sized family sedan.

The advanced automotive aluminum design concepts and technologies Alcoa has featured in the Sixteen include:

  • a rigid structural backbone comprised of a reinforced central tunnel coupled with composite floor panels providing stiffness and strength;
  • a one-piece front cowl and seat back providing significant part consolidation while stiffening and strengthening the occupant compartment;
  • energy-absorbing aluminum crash management systems;
  • cast A, B and C pillars facilitating part integration, attachment reinforcement and stiffness;
  • structural members designed to package electrical distribution systems;
  • a light weight, one-piece tubular drive shaft;
  • alloys selected to facilitate recycling; closure panels designed to integrate power drive units; and,
  • door designs utilizing a new structural concept; and, 24-inch forged and polished aluminum wheels.

Alcoa is the world's leading producer of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina, and is active in all major aspects of the industry. Alcoa serves the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial transportation and industrial markets, bringing design, engineering, production and other capabilities of Alcoa's businesses as a single solution to customers. In addition to aluminum products and components, Alcoa also markets consumer brands including Reynolds Wrap(R) aluminum foil, Alcoa(R) wheels, and Baco(R) household wraps. Among its other businesses are vinyl siding, closures, precision castings, and electrical distribution systems for cars and trucks. The company has 129,000 employees in 38 countries. For more information go to