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Novelis Expanding Automotive Sheet Capacity Worldwide

Coiled aluminum at the Novelis Guthrie aluminum rolling plant© by Novelis Guthrie

Novelis Inc. is a leading supplier of automotive aluminum sheet worldwide, with more than 40 years of experience. The company operates 33 advanced rolling and recycling facilities, serving a variety of sectors, in nine countries across North and South America, Europe, and Asia. During the past three years, the company has incrementally increased its global automotive capacity by 250% in response to growing demand for sustainable, lightweight aluminum solutions from automakers. Recently, the company has announced two additional investments in automotive sheet capacity, located in the U.S. and China.

Automotive Finishing Plant Opened in Kentucky

Novelis recently held the grand opening for its $300 million-plus automotive aluminum finishing operation in Guthrie, Kentucky. The facility will be able to produce high quality aluminum sheet products for key automotive customers, such as BMW, Tesla, Ford, and Stellantis.

“Novelis is proud to call Guthrie our newest home,” said Tom Lilienthal, plant manager at Guthrie. “We look forward to shaping a sustainable world together with our valued customers and partners in this wonderful community.”

Processing of aluminum sheet for automotive applications in Guthrie.
Processing of aluminum sheet for automotive applications in Guthrie.

The new 400,000 sq ft facility is situated on a 150-acre greenfield site, where it houses heat treat and preheating of rolled aluminum coils. The finished aluminum will be used in the manufacture of automotive body panels, such as body-in-white, hoods, doors, lift gates, and fenders. The plant has an annual nameplate capacity of 200,000 tonnes.

A significant factor in choosing to house the new plant in Guthrie is its proximity to Logan Aluminum, jointly owned by Novelis and Tri-Arrows Aluminum. With its combined recycling, casting, and hot and cold rolling capablities, Logan aluminum is able to supply aluminum sheet for automotive and other key sectors.

The Guthrie facility employs over 150 people, furthering economic growth in the region. The Kentucky government has supported the project, providing performance-based tax incentive agreements considering the company’s investment, job and wage targets. In addition, the company also has access to resources from Kentucky’s workforce service providers for recruitment and customized training.

“It is incredible to see Novelis’ continued growth in our state,” said Andy Beshear, governor of Kentucky. “This is yet another example of the strength of Kentucky’s automotive sector, which is better positioned than ever to create great jobs for our residents well into the future.”

Expanding Automotive Sheet Capacity in China

Novelis plans to invest $375 million in the expansion of rolling and recycling capabilities at its Zhenjiang plant in China. This will transform the site into a fully integrated facility, capable of serving automakers in Asia with low-carbon, sustainable aluminum. The plant will also continue serving the aerospace and industrial plate sectors.

“China is one of the fastest-growing vehicle markets in the world and its automakers are gaining market share across Asia,” said Sachin Satpute, executive vice president and president of Novelis Asia. “Therefore, this strategic investment is needed to keep pace with growing demand, particularly from EV companies. Most importantly, the creation of the country’s first automotive closed-loop recycling system advances our purpose of ‘Shaping a Sustainable World Together’ while aligning with China’s ambitious carbon reduction goals.”

Signing ceremony for the planned expansion of Novelis' Zhenjiang plant.
Signing ceremony for the planned expansion of Novelis’ Zhenjiang plant.

The Zhenjiang expansion will include upgrades to the existing hot mill and the installation of a new cold mill and new recycling and casting center. Adding recycling capabilities will allow the company to implement closed-loop recycling partnerships with automotive customers in Asia. Since recycling aluminum uses 95% less energy than primary aluminum production, it is a key component of Novelis’ sustainability commitment to reduce carbon emissions 30% by 2026 and become carbon neutral by 2050.

The expansion will enable Novelis to create a fully integrated supply chain for the automotive market in China — between its Zhenjiang rolling and recycling facility and Changzhou automotive finishing plant. It will also free up rolling capacity at the company’s Ulsan Aluminum joint venture in South Korea to serve the can and specialty products markets.

“The Zhenjiang expansion reaffirms our financial strength and commitment to reinvesting for growth while also advancing our business toward the circular economy,” said Steve Fisher, president and CEO of Novelis, Inc. “With this investment, we will further solidify our standing as the leading provider of automotive aluminum sheet in Asia. We will also be better positioned to support the rapidly growing electric vehicle market and their need for lightweight, low-carbon aluminum.”

Novelis expects to break ground on the expansion in early 2022 and complete the project in mid-2024.

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