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Aluminum Association Addresses Automotive Application of Aluminum

26 February 1997

Aluminum Gains Momentum in Automotive Applications

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 -- Some of the highest profile vehicles
to come out of the automotive industry in the past few years include
aluminum-intensive vehicles like the Plymouth Prowler, GM EV1, Audi A8, Acura
NSX and the Jaguar Sport.  These vehicles have helped convince the automotive
industry that aluminum is the material of choice.
    Automakers have bulked up vehicles to meet the competing demands of
environment and safety regulators, and to accommodate luxury and electronic
systems, increasing the need for weight to be designed out as these features
are designed in.  Aluminum's attributes -- strong, recyclable, stiff,
lightweight -- have contributed to the steady rise in aluminum content and are
contributing to vehicles designed to lead the way into the next generation of
    *  The Plymouth Prowler contains about 900 pounds of aluminum in various
    *  Aluminum closures can be found on the all-new 1996 Ford Taurus/Mercury
       Sable, the 1997 Ford F-150 truck, the 1997 Lincoln Mark VIII and on the
       GM Aurora/Riviera.
    *  Partnership between the aluminum and automotive industries has resulted
       in the successful development of lightweight body structures, including
       the Chrysler Neon Lite, the GM EV1 and the Ford AIV.
    *  The GM EV1 is the first electric car designed to be offered to
       consumers, and the first North American production vehicle with an
       all-aluminum monocoque structure.
    *  Aluminum replaces steel in the hoods of the 1998 model of Chrysler's LH
       sedans.  Aluminum also replaces sheet molding composite in the hood of
       Ford's Lincoln Continental Mark VIII.
    *  GM may convert the hoods on the Cadillac DeVille models to aluminum
       from steel in the summer of 1999 for the 2000 model year.
    *  The redesigned Sevilles for 1998 employ aluminum in the suspension
       system control arms and certain other parts.  The Seville line will be
       the ninth in this decade to be specified with aluminum hoods by GM.

    The use of aluminum in vehicles has climbed significantly in recent years,
with the total amount of aluminum content in a 1996 North American automobile
averaging 252 pounds compared to 141 pounds in 1986 models.  This tremendous
growth in aluminum usage clearly demonstrates that vehicle makers recognize
the value of aluminum in auto making because of its combination of strength,
light weight, recyclability and parts reduction capabilities.
    Other aluminum-intensive vehicles on the road today are the Chevrolet
Corvette and Oldsmobile Aurora, and the Audi A8 with 384 kg of aluminum.

    *  The front knuckles on GM's new minivans, Chevrolet Venture, Pontiac
       Trans Sport, Oldsmobile Silhouette and Opel and Vauxhall Sintra models
       will be cast in aluminum, as will the knuckles on GM's new Chevrolet
       Malibu and Oldsmobile Cutlass models for 1997 and the Pontiac Grand
       Prix, Buick Regal and Oldsmobile Intrigue.
    *  Aluminum hoods show up on GM's Buick Park Avenue, Ford's Expedition and
       Lincoln Navigator.
    *  GM's Corvette has front and rear undercarriage crossmembers and an
       aluminum cockpit structure.
    *  Aluminum spare wheels are featured in the new GM minivans.
    *  The Acura NSX has a unibody structure made of aluminum sheet stampings
       with some aluminum extrusions, joined by combination of MIG and
       resistance spot welding.  Other aluminum parts include the outer panels
       and many components of the engine, suspension and drive train.
    *  The Jaguar Sport is a limited volume production supercar with an all
       aluminum structure and external skin.  Its front end impact energy
       absorption beams are made of aluminum-magnesium alloy sheet.
    *  The Audi A8 has an aluminum spaceframe structure completed with
       closures made of stamped aluminum sheet.
    *  Porsche goes aluminum in 1998 with aluminum body panels for its 911

    The total amount of aluminum content in 1996 North American passenger cars
and light trucks increased more than 80 percent in the last five years,
according to a study by The Ducker Research Company.  This increase represents
an estimated total of 3.6 billion pounds of aluminum, which averages 35
percent more aluminum content per vehicle, or 247 pounds in 1996 compared to
183 pounds in 1991 models.
    According to the study, about sixty percent of the total amount in 1996
vehicles (2 billion pounds) came from recycled aluminum.  This is more than
the total aluminum content of 1991 vehicles.
    If you have further questions or would like more information, contact Jane
Lichter at The Aluminum Association, 900 19th Street, N.W., Suite 300,
Washington, D.C.  Call 202-862-5163 or e-mail at
    The Aluminum Association represents US producers of primary and secondary
aluminum, as well as semifabricated products.  Member companies operate
approximately 300 plants in 40 states.

SOURCE  The Aluminum Association

CONTACT: Liz Pinto of Hedge & Co., 810-350-2190; or Nathan Read of The Aluminum
Association, 202-862-5134