In an interview with Reuters this month, Pierre Labat, vice president of global automotive at Novelis, the world's largest maker of rolled aluminum products, said that demand for aluminum by the automotive industry is projected to more than double over the next seven years.
Labat said that aluminum is increasingly becoming the go-to metal to replace steel as automakers search for ways to reduce automobile weight.
“Typically what we see is an increase of aluminum percentage of the (automotive) body, which is why we’re projecting to grow from 1.5 million tonnes of aluminum demand this year to 3.5 million tonnes a year in 2025." he explained. “We will continue to add new products in the years to come which make the value proposition of aluminum very compelling for strength and light weight.”
Labat continued by noting that, of the 1.5 million tonnes of aluminum autobody sheet demand this year, roughly a 10 percent, or about 150,000 tonnes, of it is produced in Asia. But, over the next few years, Asia’s demand is expected to rise significantly, ultimately rivaling Europe’s.
“China and the rest of Asia will almost grow from 10 percent to one third of global demand,” he predicted.
Though aluminum is expected to make significant inroads into the automotive industry for the foreseeable future, Labat concluded by saying that, at least for now, it will not completely replace steel.
“I think we are convinced that the world at least in the next 10 years will be multi-material architecture with aluminum tripling its size.” he opined.
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