Aluminum in the Automotive Industry: What You Need to Know

by | Aluminum Extrusion, Blog, Why Aluminum Extrusions?

As the automotive industry has evolved over time, the materials used in production vehicles have changed.

In recent years, we’ve seen the increased adoption of aluminum alloys for parts all over the automobile.

This is due mainly to a desire for lightweighting, which is partly driven by CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards and also by consumer demand for more environmentally-friendly vehicles.

Aluminum has a number of benefits in auto production.

Why Build Cars From Aluminum?

There are a number of reasons for the growing popularity of aluminum in the auto industry. Let’s talk about some of them.

Weight Savings

One of the main attractions of aluminum is the weight savings it offers.

When the 2015 Ford F-150 truck was released with a 95% aluminum body, it turned out to be 700 pounds lighter than the previous version.

These weight savings can be explained by the fact that aluminum has one-third the weight of steel.

Although aluminum alloys are lighter than steel, aluminum auto parts can still be made to have comparable strength to their steel counterparts.

Versatility

There is a range of different alloys with different physical properties.

These alloys are suitable for many applications in aluminum vehicles.

Extrusion alloys in the 6000 and 7000 series have good strength properties and can be heat treated to enhance their strength.

Alloys like 6082 and 7003 can be found in rear headers, IP beams, ABS blocks, and more.

Casting alloys are found in vehicles as well.

The B390 alloy, for example, was developed for engine blocks and it is also used for valve bodies and piston housings.

Improved Safety

A larger auto part can absorb more crash energy on impact than a smaller one.

Thus, larger parts enhance the safety of a vehicle.

Since aluminum is lighter, it means that parts can be made larger than they would be with steel.

The metal also absorbs twice as much energy as steel and crumples predictably.

This means that when a vehicle hits something, passengers have more of a buffer protecting them before crash energy reaches the interior of the vehicle.

Aside from the safety benefits, there are also environmental benefits.

Lower Environmental Impact

Lighter vehicles require less energy to move.

That means it is easier to reduce co2 emissions in an aluminum-intensive vehicle.

Gas-powered cars become more fuel-efficient, while electric cars can achieve lower battery usage and see extended range.

Another thing to note about aluminum is that it is infinitely recyclable.

It can be recycled over and over again without degrading.

The State of the Global Automotive Aluminum Market in 2019 and Beyond

A recent report from Grand View Research provides insights into the growth of the automotive aluminum market.

According to the report, “The global automotive aluminum market size is expected to reach USD 60.58 billion by 2025,” with a compound annual growth rate of 8.7% during the period of 2019-2025.

When you consider the weight savings, versatility, improved safety, and lower environmental impact it offers, the high demand for aluminum comes as no surprise.

The emission standards outlined by governments and the increasing demand for environmentally-friendly vehicles both play a large role here.

This is especially true in North America, which “Is projected to expand at the highest CAGR of 10.9% during the forecast period.“

From compact cars to heavy commercial vehicles, the need for automotive aluminum extrusions and die-cast aluminum parts is consistently growing.

Summary: Aluminum’s Key Advantages are Leading to Automotive Aluminum Market Growth

Aluminum is lightweight and versatile and has features that allow for improved safety in automaking.

It also allows auto manufacturers to achieve significant weight savings when it replaces heavier steel, making cars more environmentally friendly and helping to achieve emission reductions.

The global market for aluminum is expected to grow significantly through 2025.

At Gabrian, we are well-positioned to assist companies source aluminum auto parts in Asia, primarily through our manufacturing partners in India.

To learn more about our services, choose one of the two links below.

Automotive Aluminum Extrusion Services

Automotive Aluminum Die Casting Services

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