Atlanta, Georgia, and Changzhou, China – Aluminum supplier Novelis has opened China's first plant dedicated to the production of heat-treated aluminum automotive sheet. The opening makes Novelis the only company to produce automotive aluminum sheet in all three of the world's major automobile producing regions -- Asia, Europe and North America.
Demand for automotive aluminum has grown quickly in China as that country tries to increase the number of battery-powered electric vehicles on the road. Lightweighting is key with electric vehicles to reduce the load on electrical systems and extend vehicle ranges.
The wholly-owned facility, located in the Changzhou National Hi-Tech District, represents a $100 million investment by Novelis to expand its global footprint to serve the rapidly growing market for automotive aluminum. With an annual capacity of 120,000 metric tons, the new facility will assist China in meeting its environmental goals and provide customers in Asia and abroad with high-quality automotive sheet for use in lightweight vehicle structures and body panels such as hoods, doors, fenders, and lift gates.
"The opening of our Changzhou plant further solidifies Novelis' position as the aluminum partner-of-choice for automakers around the world," said Phil Martens, President and CEO of Novelis. "Global automakers seeking to drive fuel efficiency, higher performance and innovative design can now source locally-produced Novelis aluminum automotive sheet in every major region where they make vehicles."
Since 2011, Novelis has invested more than $550 million globally to triple its automotive sheet capacity to 900,000 metric tons by 2015. Demand for aluminum is rapidly increasing as automakers strive to design a new generation of lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles with reduced life-cycle emissions. Each 10% weight reduction can result in a 5% to 7% fuel savings.
"The opening of our Changzhou plant marks an important milestone for Novelis as our first manufacturing facility in China," said Shashi Maudgal, senior vice president, Novelis and president, Novelis Asia. "This new facility will be integrated with our existing operations in Korea, strengthening Novelis' leadership in the Asian market, the largest and fastest growing region in the world for aluminum."