INTERVIEW - Green factor to fuel aluminium use in cars
BRESCIA - Aluminium usage in the auto industry is set to grow substantially in the coming years in the drive for fuel economy and environmental safety, a leading Italian industry official said yesterday.
Mario Conserva, president of the Milan-based Association of Italian Aluminium Producers (CENTROAL), said he expected the average aluminium content per car to grow to some 185 kg in six or seven years\' time from around 115 kg now.
He said aluminium contributed to fuel economy and helped reduce pollution of the atmosphere.
\"If you decrease the weight of the car, you have lower fuel consumption and less emissions,\" he told Reuters, speaking on the sidelines of the Metef, the world\'s largest trade fair dedicated to aluminium, near the north Italian city of Brescia.
Conserva told a news conference on the theme \"Aluminium For Future Generations\" that he believed the transport sector would grab a bigger slice of global aluminium usage, accounting for some 35-36 percent in 10 years\' time, up from 25-26 percent now.
The importance of fuel efficiency at a time of high oil prices underlined the increasing demand of the auto industry for aluminium - a much lighter metal than steel for which it is seen as a substitute.
Svein Richard Brandtzaeg, president of Hydro Aluminium Metal Products, a unit of Norsk Hydro ASA , told Reuters that despite the rosy outlook, the aluminium industry should not be complacent as it faced fierce competition from new plastic and steel technologies.
\"The automotive sector is taking more and more aluminium,\" he added.
Shipbuilding, building materials and construction industries were also using more aluminium, industry officials said. Like carmakers, boatbuilders are seeking sleeker, more fuel-efficient designs.
Brandtzaeg said he was optimistic that aluminium prices, currently weighed down by high global stock levels, would recover in the medium term, aided by the global economic recovery.
Yogi Shergill, vice-president for marketing and sales of Hydro Aluminium Metal Products, told Reuters he expected aluminium prices to pick up in three to six months\' time on the back of increased industrial activity.
On the London Metal Exchange yesterday, three-month aluminium\'s last ring trade was at $1,383 per tonne, up $0.50, and in kerb trade the market inched up another $2.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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