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August 2, 2001

Alcoa's Automotive Strategy: Help Carmakers Build Superior Vehicles to Meet Consumer Demands

AUBURN, INDIANA--August 2, 2001-- An automotive strategy aimed at redefining Alcoa’s relationships with the world’s carmakers was the centerpiece of a unique, vintage – modern ride and drive hosted by the world’s largest aluminum maker at the renowned Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum.

Speaking to automotive journalists, Rick Milner, Vice President, Alcoa and President, Alcoa Automotive said, “Our goal is straightforward: help our automotive customers sell more vehicles by using our aluminum technologies giving consumers the benefits they want in their cars and trucks. Our approach focuses on innovative ideas and broader product offerings.”

Milner noted that Alcoa has engaged Sergio Zyman, former chief marketing officer of the Coca-Cola Company and leading branding expert, to help Alcoa deliver on the promise of its new marketing strategy.

According to Zyman, “Alcoa intends to create a road map to point the way to how aluminum’s attributes can be leveraged to create even more desirable vehicles that consumers will want to buy. Alcoa’s job now is to create expanded marketing opportunities for its customers in the auto industry. To be successful, we’ll link Alcoa products and services more directly to those consumer benefits that help sell cars.”

Milner added, “Alcoa’s customer focus emphasizes mutual problem solving and innovative products. We will provide automakers options for capturing the attributes of Alcoa aluminum in ways that will differentiate their vehicles in a crowded and increasingly competitive marketplace. We will put special emphasis on our aluminum technologies that give car buyers what they want: improved performance, leading-edge safety features, lower operating costs and environmental friendliness.”

One example Milner cited where Alcoa is now working closer with its automotive customers to improve vehicle design to better meet consumer needs relates to ergonomics. As automakers have added safety and convenience features – like anti-intrusion beams and power switches – to their doors and lift gates, they have become heavier and harder for drivers and passengers to operate. Alcoa now offers several new product concepts to help automakers make it easier for people to get into and out of their vehicles.

Working with input from its automakers, Alcoa has designed a new minivan sliding door that’s easier to open. With no compromise on safety, it combines aluminum, magnesium and polymers in a package that is only three inches wide and weighs about half of its steel counterpart. By integrating the strengths of these three materials and slimming down the door, this product gives consumers more interior room and offers automakers improved quality and production efficiencies.

Alcoa, Milner also noted, created advanced lift gates for both pick-up trucks and sport utility vehicles that are nearly half the weight of their steel counterparts. The new gates are much easier to open and close. In addition, the new lift gates consolidate parts, thus reducing assembly costs and improving product quality for the automaker.

“We don’t make or sell cars, so our success depends on our ability to help our automotive customers provide car buyers what they demand. These advanced products reflect Alcoa’s evolution from a traditional metals supplier to that of a problem-solving partner capable of combining one hundred years of experience with leading-edge knowledge to help our customers in the auto industry design, build and sell superior vehicles.

“In the minds of car buyers, we want Alcoa to become a requested contributor known for adding 5-Star safety, faster acceleration, shorter stopping distances, lower gasoline bills and improved environmental performance to their vehicles,” Milner concluded.

Milner’s remarks at the Museum were presented to a gathering of leading automotive journalists assembled to drive a 1931 Auburn, 1938 Packard V12 Victoria Convertible and an aluminum-bodied 1948 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith before stepping into three modern super cars that embody Alcoa’s technical solutions, including:

» A 2001 360 hp Audi S8, among the world’s safest sedans and a high performance leader
» A 2001 Panoz Esperante, among the world’s top roadsters and another high performance leader

Alcoa is the world's leading producer of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum, and alumina. Among its related businesses are precision castings, fiber optic cables, and electrical distribution systems for cars and trucks. It has 142,000 employees in 37 countries.