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Automakers Signal Continued Shift to Aluminum at 2013 Management Briefing Seminars
Traverse City, Mich., August 8, 2013 – Consistent with the metal’s continued marketplace momentum, automotive aluminum shined bright this week at the 2013 Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars. Sessions took a close look at the importance of aluminum in helping automakers reduce the weight of vehicles today and in the future without compromising durability, performance and safety. Topics included Monday’s session titled Featherweight Competition: The Path to a Lightweight Car featuring a presentation by Dr. Mark White, chief engineer, body complete business unit, body engineering, product development, Jaguar, as well as this morning’s session titled Automotive Strategy: Mobility, Profitability, Sustainability featuring a presentation by Philip Martens, president & CEO, Novelis, Inc. a member of the Aluminum Association’s Aluminum Transportation Group (ATG).
“Let’s remember why aluminum is even being considered as a key component of automotive design and production. The answer is simple – automobiles need to be lighter in order to become more fuel-efficient…Automobiles made from aluminum offer dramatically higher fuel efficiency without compromising the level of performance and durability consumers expect from their vehicles,” Martens asserted.
Complementing the aluminum-focused seminars, several advanced designs featuring innovative uses of aluminum were on display at the conference this week in Traverse City, including:
The durable 2014 Range Rover aluminum structure | According to the automaker, the world’s first all-aluminum SUV “is 39 percent lighter than the steel body in the outgoing model. This enables a total vehicle weight savings of up to 926lbs, depending on market and specifications. The US specification vehicle with the naturally-aspirated 5-liter V8 will be approximately 700lbs lighter than the outgoing equivalent. This new aluminum platform delivers significant enhancements in performance and agility, along with an improvement in fuel economy and reduction in CO2 emissions.”
The performance-driven 2014 Corvette’s aluminum structure | This vehicle sports a 57 percent stiffer aluminum frame and an aluminum chassis that helps it achieve a 99 pound weight loss from the previous model. In addition to its upgraded core, the redesigned suspension features new aluminum control arms and front and rear cradles, all of which contribute to an 11-foot shorter braking distance.
The increased focus on reducing vehicle weight with aluminum at this year’s conference echoes the marketplace shift as demonstrated by aluminum’s automotive content being at an all-time high, with an expected doubling by 2025 according to the latest Ducker Worldwide study of automakers.
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