Aluminum Industry Unites at SAE 2000

The Goal: Expanding Customer Service & Accelerating

Use of High-Strength Aluminum

Mar 09, 2000, 00:00 ET from Aluminum Association

    DETROIT, March 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Reflecting the fast-rising importance of
 aluminum to the automotive industry, leading aluminum companies -- for the
 first time ever -- joined forces to create a major presence at the Society of
 Automotive Executives' just concluded international conference, SAE 2000.  As
 part of an Aluminum Association exhibit, technical experts from aluminum
 companies and the association met with hundreds of automotive and supply
 industry representatives to exchange information about the latest aluminum
 applications and discuss how automakers can make even greater use of
 aluminum's inherent safety and environmental advantages.
     "Our automotive customers told us that they want more aluminum options and
 a united aluminum industry that is supportive and forward-thinking in its
 approach to addressing core technical issues -- and we are stepping-up to the
 challenge," said Dr. Richard Klimsich, Vice President of The Aluminum
 Association's Detroit office.  "Our work at SAE 2000 is just one example of
 how we are unifying the aluminum industry, raising it's profile and
 aggressively seeking out automotive customers to better meet their materials
     In addition to the SAE outreach effort, Klimisch pointed to the on-going
 work of the Auto Aluminum Alliance, the leading role aluminum is playing in
 the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) and the launching of
 The Aluminum Association's new Detroit operations as evidence of the aluminum
 industry's commitment to supporting automakers as they develop next-generation
 cars and trucks.
     Klimisch noted that the worldwide use of automotive aluminum, which is the
 fastest-growing component in new cars and trucks, is expected to climb by 2.5
 million metric tons, or more than 55 percent, in just the next five years.  He
 attributed the metal's rapid growth to its superior crash absorption abilities
 for enhancing safety, combined with its ability to make vehicles lighter,
 without making them smaller -- a key advantage for making roomy, safe cars and
 light trucks with increased fuel economy.
     The Aluminum Association's SAE 2000 exhibit displayed examples of
 innovative uses of aluminum that currently benefit automakers and consumer
 alike.  Highlights included body panels from the Lincoln LS (Motor Trend's
 "Car of the Year"), an aluminum space frame from the Ferrari 360 Modena (one
 of the world's premier performance cars), a Chevy Suburban aluminum liftgate
 (which is easier for consumers to open and close), two Ford Ranger hoods
 (which weigh as much as a single steel hood), and numerous aluminum wheels,
 bumpers, engine cradles and other components.
     Klimisch added, "The advanced, cost-effective aluminum technologies on
 display at SAE 2000 all demonstrate a central fact:  aluminum helps build a
 better car."
     In terms of safety advantages, aluminum can absorb twice as much crash
 energy as steel (pound for pound), which helps vehicles -- not their
 passengers -- absorb more of the crash forces associated with auto accidents.
 Aluminum can also help auto engineers design larger front- and rear-end
 crumple zones without adding unnecessary weight.
     In terms of environmental advantages, aluminum does not rust and can make
 vehicles lighter, so they can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and use less
 fuel per mile, an especially important advantage as gas prices continue their
 steady climb.
     Klimisch concluded, "The new breed of automobile promises to be safer,
 more fuel efficient and even more exciting to drive, and the future looks
 strong, bright and shiny -- it looks like aluminum."
     The Aluminum Association, based in Detroit, MI and 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