Novelis expects to double auto aluminum production in 4 years

Novelis is making major investments in North American production to supply Ford, which is launching production of its aluminum-intensive F-150 pickup.
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TRAVERSE CITY -- Novelis Inc., the world’s largest sheet aluminum producer, said today it expects to double its North American production of automotive aluminum by 2018 or so from 2014 levels.

The company said it plans to produce 260,000 tons of automotive aluminum in North America in 2014, up from about 50,000 tons in 2013. That figure will rise to 365,000 tons in 2015 as Novelis supplies aluminum for the Ford F-150 pickup truck and other models.

Demand is robust, and the company is already producing at full capacity, Tom Boney, general manager of automotive for Novelis North America.

To keep up with demand, Novelis is in the third phase of a $500 million expansion of its aluminum plant in Oswego, N.Y. This year, the company announced plans to melt and re-use scrap aluminum from Ford Motor Co.’s stamping plant. As much as 40 percent of aluminum is lost to scrappage during the stamping and manufacturing processes.

Novelis and rival Alcoa both have made major investments in North American production to supply Ford, which is launching production of its aluminum-intensive F-150 pickup.

Novelis is headed by CEO Phil Martens, who spent 18 years of his career at Ford, from 1987 to 2005.

Boney expects 70 percent of pickups produced in North America to have aluminum bodies by 2025, as automakers slash vehicle weight in a bid to meet their CAFE targets.

Other vehicles will get more aluminum, too. By 2025, Novelis expects 85 percent of all vehicle hoods and 45 percent of doors will be aluminum.

And if your company wants to use more aluminum parts, get in line. For major orders, Novelis already is looking ahead to 2018 and 2019.

You can reach David Sedgwick at dsedgwick@crain.com.


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