We’ve been saying for a while now that the biggest paradigm shift that the aluminum industry will see (at least in modern history). It looks like the outside perspective is catching on to this, particularly from an investment and financial perspective. From StreetInsider.com:
“We believe gradual conversion of automotive exposed body to aluminum (Body-in-White or BiW) will be a game changer for downstream aluminum use, with a growth rate higher than any other end market for specialty metals for the rest of this decade,” said analyst Sal Tharani.
“In the US, the CAFE rules require a 50% reduction in auto carbon emissions by 2025, leading OEM’s to look at alternative materials for light weighting vehicles. As OEMs turn to aluminum, we expect to see significant growth in the automotive aluminum sheet market. Some industry sources, including consultant agencies on environmental regulations, expect aluminum auto sheet to grow at a 14% CAGR from 2012 through 2025. Ford unveiled its 2015 F-150 model at the Detroit Auto Show, with an all-aluminum body that weighs 700 pounds less than its predecessor and has 30% better fuel efficiency, based on data provided by the company. We believe that Ford F-150 is the tip of the iceberg, and expect several other automotive platforms from all major OEM’s to move toward partial or full aluminum BiW in coming years.”
The F-150 was a watershed moment for the industry in many different ways. Internally, it changes how we allocate our focus and resources. Externally, it changes the perception of what our materials are capable of, despite aluminum being used in bodies and frames for military and other purposes. Let’s see what else 2014 has to bring.