Constellium N.V. and UACJ Corporation celebrated the official opening of their new manufacturing plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The 225,000 sq ft facility will supply 100,000 tonnes of aluminum automotive body sheet to the North American automotive industry under their joint venture, Constellium-UACJ ABS LLC.
Coil supply for the facility has been secured with both partners’ rolling mills, including Tri-Arrows Aluminum in Louisville, Kentucky, and Wise Alloys in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, as well as Logan Aluminum in Russellville, Kentucky. With cutting-edge equipment and technologies, the facility expects to offer a flat rolled product portfolio for a wide range of applications including closure panels and body structures. The plant is currently in qualification phase, with ramp-up planned over the next two years. The line is currently committed with orders from leading automotive OEMs in North America.
“Today’s opening represents a significant step towards securing our position as a leading player in the fast growing North American automotive body sheet market,” said Simon Laddychuk, chief executive officer of the Constellium-UACJ joint venture at the grand opening. “Constellium and UACJ’s combined industrial legacy and best-in-class assets, as well as our leading position in innovation with the opening of a new R&D hub in Plymouth, MI, position the joint venture to be the partner of choice for North American automotive OEMs.”
“The opening of the first North American automotive body sheet finishing line with our partner UACJ, is an important milestone in our goal to become a global leader in aluminum automotive solutions,” added Jean-Marc Germain, chief executive officer of Constellium. “As a one-stop shop, Constellium is well-positioned to provide automotive OEMs with innovative rolled and extruded products, which lighten vehicle weight, while offering exceptional performance characteristics.”
“We are thrilled to be opening this plant at a time when the aluminum automotive market in the US is extremely promising.” said Mitsuru Okada, representative director and president of UACJ. “We are delighted to contribute to the automotive customers in North America not only with our automotive parts business, but also with Constellium-UACJ’s advanced and innovative products with a state of the art continuous annealing and pretreatment line.”
“Kentucky is committed to remaining ahead of the curve as the automotive industry evolves,” Gov. Matt Bevin said. “Constellium-UACJ’s commitment to supplying aluminum sheeting for lighter-weight vehicles stands as a great example of how the Commonwealth’s auto industry is moving forward. Congratulations to South Central Kentucky and Constellium-UACJ for establishing what promises to be a very rewarding partnership.”
The North American aluminum body sheet market is expanding rapidly to respond to stringent automotive regulations calling for major car weight reduction and fuel efficiency. As a growing number of automotive OEMs integrate aluminum in their models, the use of aluminum automotive body sheet in North America increased from 70,000 tonnes in 2012 to approximately 500,000 tonnes in 2015 and is forecasted to reach more than 1 million tonnes in 2020.
Editor’s Note: Light Metal Age was in attendance at the grand opening ceremony in Bowling Green and will be publishing a feature-length article on the new facility in an upcoming issue of the magazine.