Aluminum Surpasses Iron As Second Most Used Automotive Material

- Aluminum is second behind steel as the most used automotive material - In North America, the aluminum content in passenger cars and trucks averages 319 lbs - Aluminum's cost/benefit value proposition continues to improve

DETROIT, March 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Global aluminum use in automotive applications continues to grow, according to a new report commissioned by The Aluminum Association, Inc., and when compared to use of other metals, aluminum has now exceeded iron to become the second most used automotive material worldwide. Highlights of the report were unveiled by executives from Alcoa and Novelis, leading aluminum manufacturers, during a press conference today.

"Aluminum penetration in the auto industry continues to surpass competing materials as leading automakers recognize the metal's value in boosting fuel economy, performance and safety, while reducing emissions. With today's sky high fuel prices, rising global warming concerns and increasing safety demands, aluminum is a proven solution today, with even greater promise for tomorrow," said Misha Riveros-Jacobson, president of advanced transportation systems for Alcoa.

Commissioned by the Auto & Light Truck Group (ALTG) of The Aluminum Association, Inc., and conducted by Ducker Worldwide, the study found that passenger vehicles in North America now contain an average of 319 pounds of aluminum representing a 16 percent increase from 2002 data, which now places aluminum second only to steel in automotive applications.

Also released today by the ALTG was a related value study on aluminum's costs and related benefits. While the metal's rising use confirms its cost benefit advantages in many applications today, the aluminum industry also documents the additional value and cost savings aluminum could offer as more of the metal is used in the future. The value study, conducted by IBIS Associates, reveals the potential for significant additional cost savings from secondary weight savings and associated cost reductions, which can significantly offset upfront materials costs.

"Aluminum's value is far reaching since it can safely reduce weight, which means automakers can downsize components accordingly and recoup those secondary cost savings," said Martha Brooks, chief operating officer for Novelis. "Consumers also can save money at the gas pump, as low weight vehicles using aluminum require less fuel to get around."

Release of these new studies is well timed, given the fact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will soon issue new fuel-economy standards for SUVs, pickups and minivans for Model Year 2008 through 2011. NHTSA's earlier draft rule proposed size-based standards, in part to encourage automakers to make even greater use of high strength, low weight materials like aluminum. NHTSA's effort is consistent with recent studies by the aluminum industry and others, which confirm the size of a vehicle -- not its weight -- is a better measure of a vehicle's safety. Therefore NHTSA's new fuel economy rule encourages even greater use of aluminum and similar materials in order to maintain or even increase vehicle size for safety, while reducing vehicle weight for improved fuel economy and reduced emissions.

"As the auto industry continues to innovate to meet consumer and government demands the world over, whether it's through hybrid engines, cleaner fuels, or simply making cars and trucks more fun to drive, aluminum will continue to help build better cars and trucks," summarized Stephen Larkin, president of The Aluminum Association, Inc. "Aluminum continues to provide solutions to the growing challenges of today and the future."

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About The Aluminum Association's Auto & Light Truck Group: The Aluminum Association's Auto & Light Truck Group (ALTG) communicates the benefits of automotive aluminum to help accelerate its penetration through research programs and related outreach activities. Its mission is to serve member companies and act as a central resource for the automotive industry on aluminum issues. Member companies include: Alcoa, Aleris International, Inc., Aluminum Precision Products, Inc., ARCO Aluminum Inc., Indalex Aluminum Solutions, Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corporation, Novelis Inc., Ormet Aluminum and Pechiney Rolled Products.

About Ducker Worldwide

Ducker Worldwide is a recognized leader in business-to-business research, analysis and strategy for technically oriented markets such as automotive, metals and materials, industrial equipment and building and construction. Founded in 1961, Ducker Worldwide leverages significant industry expertise and employs primary research methodologies to obtain and analyze difficult and detailed market intelligence as well as advanced strategic analysis that drives results for its clients on a global basis. Ducker Worldwide services its global clientele from offices in Detroit, Paris, Berlin, Montreal, Shanghai, and Bangalore, with correspondent offices in Brazil, Japan, and Australia.

About IBIS

IBIS Associates is an engineering consulting firm that helps technology- focused organizations understand the competitive position of materials, processes, and products. A spin-off out of MIT's Materials Processing Center in 1987, IBIS has worked in a wide range of industries, with emphasis on automotive and electronics, assisting clients in their understanding of how alternative manufacturing and materials system technologies compete on the basis of cost and market conditions. The IBIS approach is to provide business development and operations solutions through the application of a set of quantitative tools, methodologies and focused techno-economic skills.

CONTACT: Caroline Jeffs of Strat@comm, +1-248-649-8000

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