DEARBORN, Mich., Sept. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- To build upon the growing partnerships between the automotive and aluminum industries, The Aluminum Association today announced plans to open a Detroit-based office and create a global cooperation of nine national trade associations on automotive aluminum. These two moves are seen as important steps by the aluminum industry to better respond to automotive customer expectations and to more closely serve their needs, both domestically and internationally. Expected to open in the fourth quarter of 1999, The Aluminum Association's new office will serve as a resource for customers, members and other auto suppliers to coordinate pre-competitive research, marketing initiatives and related projects. Speaking at The Aluminum Association's annual meeting in Dearborn, Richard B. Evans, President of Alcan Global Fabrication Group and Chairman of the Board of the Association noted, "Our new Detroit presence will provide a singular focus for the aluminum industry to better serve the needs of our customers in the auto industry. By opening this office in the heart of Motor City, the aluminum industry is literally and figuratively taking a giant step closer to its automotive customer base." He added, "Aluminum companies -- both collectively and individually -- intend to increase partnerships with auto manufacturers as they reinvent the motor vehicle for the 21st Century." The office announcement comes just three months after formation of the Auto-Aluminum Alliance, in which both industries are now identifying and pursuing ways to further accelerate the use of aluminum in mass-produced vehicles. The new office will be lead by a soon-to-be named Association Vice President -- an experienced senior executive with a solid background in the auto industry. The goal of the office will be to promote pre-competitive research programs and actions that will lead to mass-produced, aluminum intensive vehicles in the near future. The office will also serve as a central resource for auto companies on aluminum questions and it will coordinate joint auto/aluminum industry research projects now underway with the Auto Aluminum Alliance. In a related effort, Evans also announced a new strategic cooperative agreement among the world's aluminum companies, represented through their nine national trade associations, on issues related to the automotive application of aluminum. According to Evans, "Today's automakers have global operations and are seeking to harmonize differing government standards to improve their economies of scale. This new international aluminum cooperative agreement recognizes the need for international solutions and is designed to parallel the structures of the car companies in addressing these challenges on a global basis." Initially, the collaboration will set up mechanisms to more closely share information on automotive applications, issues and research on an ongoing basis. Once clear lines of communications are established, it is expected the international cooperation will work on joint research and marketing projects designed to meet the needs of automotive customers around the world. Steve Larkin, President of The Aluminum Association concluded, "Auto Aluminum use continues to skyrocket as more and more manufacturers take advantage of its inherent environmental, safety, and performance advantages. By opening a Detroit office, and by better coordinating global aluminum- related activities, the aluminum industry will be better positioned to help automakers build next-generation vehicles that are affordable, safe and exciting to drive." Members of the aluminum industry's new global cooperative agreement will combine the resources and initiatives of The Aluminum Association Inc. (AAI), Washington, D.C.; the International Primary Aluminium Institute (IPAI), London; the European Aluminium Association (EAA), Brussels; the Australian Aluminium Council, Manuka; the Aluminium Association of India, Bangalore; the Associacao Brasileira Do Aluminio (ABAL), Sao Paulo; the Japan Aluminium Federation (JAF), Tokyo; the Aluminium Association of Canada, Montreal; and the Aluminium Federation of South Africa (AFSA), Isando (For more information on this Global Cooperation, see related release, also dated, September 9, 1999). The Aluminum Association, based in Washington, DC, represents U.S. producers of primary and secondary aluminum, as well as fabricated and semi- fabricated products. Member companies operate approximately 200 plants in 35 states.
SOURCE Aluminum Association