The aluminum content in cars to increase by up to 30% over the next ten years, according to a new Ducker Worldwide study. This surge is mainly from rolled and extruded products, where auto body sheet leads the growth with an expected increase of 110% over the same period. The growth is largely attributed to aluminum’s role in lightweighting cars, thereby contributing to low emission mobility. The report, which was commissioned by European Aluminium, predicts that the aluminum content of cars produced in Europe could reach nearly 200 kg per vehicle by 2025, up from 150 kg today.
“We expect the aluminum content in cars to continue its growth trajectory by as much as 30% in the next ten years,” stated Wouter Vogelaar of Ducker Worldwide. “Although we find total content growth in all forming processes, rolled and extruded products have been particularly identified as replacing steel in many instances for products used in body closures and body structures. For example, we expect the use of Auto Body Sheet to double over the next decade.”
Carmakers’ preference for aluminum is largely linked to its lightweight nature, contributing to CO2 reduction. Due to its inherent strength and its excellent ability to absorb crash energy, well-engineered aluminum car parts can be safer than steel and up to 50% lighter. Lighter cars substantially contribute to reducing CO2 emissions and improving fuel efficiency. In fact, using 200 kg of aluminum in a car could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 16 grams per km travelled. With the 2014 average at 123 grams per km, increasing the aluminium content in cars could play a significant role in enabling the EU to achieve its target of 95 grams per km by 2021.
“Without lightweight cars there can be no energy efficient mobility. Aluminum is therefore an integral part of the EU’s transition to a low carbon society,” said Dieter Höll, chairman of the Automotive & Transport Board at European Aluminium. “We hope the European Commission’s strategy to decarbonize transport will stress the benefits of lightweight materials such as aluminum.”
Ducker Worldwide also found that the share of rolled products grew significantly in the last four years due to the increased penetration rate for body closures and body structures. The share of forgings and extrusions in the total aluminum consumption remained relatively stable.
The study includes data from automotive companies and suppliers, European Aluminium member companies and past Ducker Worldwide data. It is based on a detailed analysis of the use of aluminum castings, extrusions, forgings and sheets for 33 component groups across a sample of 93 car models, subsequently extrapolated to the entire 2016 production forecast in EU 28.
A public summary of the report can be found online. The full 140-page report is available to members of European Aluminium’s Automotive and Transport Market Group.