In an interview with Reuters earlier this week, Pierre Labat, vice president of global automotive at Novelis, said that demand for aluminium by the automotive industry is projected to more than double over the course of the next seven years.
Labat said in Thursday’s interview that aluminium is increasingly becoming the go-to metal to replace steel as automakers search for ways to trim pounds from their offerings.
“Typically what we see is an increase of aluminum percentage of the (automotive) body, which is why we’re projecting to grow from 1.5 million tonnes of aluminum demand this year to 3.5 million tonnes a year in 2025,” he explained.
“We will continue to add new products in the years to come which make the value proposition of aluminum very compelling for strength and light weight.”
Labat continued by noting that, of the 1.5 million metric tons of aluminium autobody sheet demand this year, roughly a tenth of it emanates from Asia. But, as the years march on, Asia’s demand is expected to rise significantly, ultimately rivaling Europe’s.
“China and the rest of Asia will almost grow from 10 percent to one third of global demand,” he predicted.
Though the governments of the United States and the People’s Republic of China are currently inching closer to a trade war, Labat says that, though still early, such a scenario is not likely to significantly impact aluminium demand.
“What we see, which is positive, is customers like Tesla that we serve in North America coming to China and opening new facilities in China. So this is going to increase aluminum demand in China.”
Though aluminium is expected to make significant inroads into the automotive industry for the foreseeable future, Labat concluded by saying that, at least for now, there continues to remain a place at the table for steel.
“I think we are convinced that the world at least in the next 10 years will be multi-material architecture with aluminum tripling its size,” he opined.