Ducker: automotive aluminum content to hit explosive growth from 2015 to 2025; 50 years of uninterrupted growth “guaranteed”
|NA aluminum sheet demand for auto body and closure parts. Click to enlarge.|
By 2025, more than 75% of all new pickup trucks produced in North America will be aluminum-bodied, according to a survey of automakers conducted by global consulting and research firm Ducker Worldwide and commissioned by The Aluminum Association’s Aluminum Transportation Group (ATG). The study surveyed all major automakers and forecasts that Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler will become the biggest users of aluminum sheet in the next decade.
It also forecasts that the number of vehicles with complete aluminum body structures will reach 18% of North American production, from less than 1% today. Vehicle segments revealed as emerging aluminum content leaders are pickup trucks, sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) and both mid-sized and full-size sedans.
The study finds that every leading automaker will have numerous aluminum body and closure programs by 2025. As the material mix for body and closure parts continues to change in the years to come, use of aluminum sheet for vehicle bodies will increase to 4 billion pounds by 2025, from 200 million pounds in 2012.
Through in-person interviews with automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), component suppliers and regulators, Ducker Worldwide maintains a comprehensive material use database to track material and mass of individual components for every vehicle model manufactured in North America. The findings of the “2015 North American Light Vehicle Aluminum Content Study” were compiled using data updated and verified between October 2013 and April 2014.
|Aluminum penetration for closures and complete bodies. Click to enlarge.|
The study forecasts that in 2015:
Pickup trucks will contain the most aluminum at 548.9 lbs (249 kg) per vehicle, followed closely by E-segment sedans at 546.9 lbs (248 kg), SUVs at 410.3 lbs (186 kg) and minivans at 396.5 lbs (180 kg).
The average aluminum content in 2015 will be up 44 pounds (20 kg) per vehicle or 13% over 2012. Total North American new light vehicle aluminum consumption will increase 28% in 2015 over 2012, and equal nearly 7 billion pounds (3.2 billion kg); body and closure parts will be 11% of the total.
Tesla, Mercedes, BMW and Ford will all exceed the average aluminum content and the average aluminum share of curb weight for 2015.
More than 500,000 pickups and EVs (combined) will have complete aluminum bodies, with content of more than 500 million pounds (227 million kg) of aluminum.
Large content increases for body parts, closures and larger transmission cases will more than offset small content losses for smaller engines and stiff competition from new steels for suspension control arms over the period 2012-2015. The net increase is expected to be a plus 44.3 pounds (20 kg) per vehicle from 2102 to 2015, compared to an increase of only 10 pounds (4.5 kg) per vehicle from 2010 to 2012.
For 2025, the study forecasts:
26.6% of all the body and closure parts for light vehicles in North America will be made of aluminum; total North American aluminum content in 2025 will be 10 billion pounds (4.54 billion kg).
Aluminum hood penetration will reach 85% and doors will reach 46%; complete bodies will reach 18%, from less than 1% today.
Aluminum will comprise more than 75% of pickup truck body and closure parts; 24% of E Segment body and closure parts; 22% of SUV body and closure parts; and 18% of minivan body and closure parts.
On a weight basis, aluminum will grow to 19% of the weight for body and closure parts by 2025.
The gross weight savings from aluminum body and closure parts will be 175 pounds (79 kg) per vehicle.
The growth of aluminum rolled products for automotive applications will require a tremendous increase in heat treating capacity; 70% of the aluminum sheet will need to be 6xxx heat treatable sheet.
Globally, light vehicle aluminum content will approach 35 billion pounds (15.9 billion kg) by 2025 making light vehicles the most important global market for aluminum.
|Change in material mix for body and closure parts. Click to enlarge.|
Fifty years of uninterrupted aluminum growth for North American manufactured light vehicles is guaranteed. There is nothing on the horizon that would indicate that this burst in aluminum growth can be significantly slowed over the next ten years.—Ducker Worldwide