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Record aluminum content: use of the lightweight metal in automobiles at all-time high.

A new study has found that the 2009 North American vehicle contains an all-time high amount of aluminum--8.6 percent of vehicle curb weight.

The study by Ducker Worldwide, commissioned by The Aluminum Association Inc., pointed to the surge as an effort by automakers to meet the federal mandate of 40 percent improved fuel economy by by 2020.

Auto aluminum use was just 2 percent in 1970 and 5.1 percent in 1990. Additionally, the integration of aluminum in cars and light trucks is projected to be nearly 11 percent of curb weight by 2020.

"As automakers seek to innovate and differentiate themselves with more fuel efficient cars and trucks with a reduced carbon footprint, the time to use advanced materials like aluminum is now--and this study shows that automakers agree," said Buddy Stemple, chairman of the Aluminum Association's Auto & Light Truck Group.

North America ranks as the world leader in aluminum penetration in cars, pickups, SUVs, and minivans where a net increase of more than eight pounds occurred between 2006 and 2009 calendar year vehicles.

"We're seeing continued growth of automotive aluminum because of the relevant advantages it offers, such as improved fuel economy and vehicle safety," said Stemple. "In fact, hybrid and diesel vehicles when paired with aluminum can actually pay consumers back faster than if those vehicles were made of heavier steel."

Honda and BMW are now the aluminum content leaders replacing General Motors and Nissan with both companies averaging more than 340 pounds of aluminum per vehicle.
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Title Annotation:news & analysis
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:May 1, 2009
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