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Aluminum use expected to grow in auto industry

BNamericas cited Mr Antonio Carlos de Assis commercial manager of Atlanta based Novelis as saying that the use of aluminum in the manufacturing of auto parts is expected to grow in Brazil, as well as in emerging countries like China, India and the United Arab Emirates.

The executive said that currently, the automotive industry accounts for some 15% to 20% of Novelis' Brazilian aluminum sales. However, sales to this segment are expected to see double digit growth annually in the coming years.

The executive pointed out that the main benefit in the use of aluminum in auto parts is related to environmental issues, as the metal weighs 3 times less than steel, which can consequently reduce car weight and lower CO2 emissions. In addition, aluminum has high anti-corrosion properties and is 100% recyclable.

Mr Assis said that when we talk specifically about heat exchange applications, Novelis has a share of some 80% to 85% of the domestic market. He said that plastic and steel, for example, do not maintain their properties when recycled. Aluminum scrap, on the other hand, keeps the same added value. Aluminum can replace carbon, galvanized and stainless steel in auto parts and can be used as a substitute for plastic applications as well.

He said that the increase in the use of aluminum in the local automotive industry depends on environmental awareness, raw material alternatives and the will to change among companies, automakers and the government. He added that despite being more expensive in tonnage terms, aluminum reduces costs as it is so much lighter. Unlike in mature economies, such as Europe and the US, the market in Brazil needs further development as prices are still an important concern among local consumers.

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