Novelis invests $120M to make aluminum for autos

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

Novelis, the aluminum supplier to Ford Motor Co.’s F-150 and hundreds of other vehicles, on Monday unveiled a new finishing line at its Oswego, New York, plant that will manufacturer the aluminum alloys used in Ford’s new 2017 Super Duty.

The line represents a $120 million investment that will add 100 jobs to the plant, which employs 1,100 workers. Novelis has invested $550 million and added 460 jobs there since 2011, when it was tapped to make the military-grade aluminum that first rolled out on the 2015 F-150 pickup.

“Automakers are seeking alternative materials to cut vehicle weight while maintaining strength and safety requirements,” Steve Fisher, Novelis president and CEO, said in a statement. “By supplying tailored lightweight aluminum solutions to automakers in every major auto-producing region, Novelis is uniquely positioned to meet the needs of these global automakers.”

Novelis officials say the company now makes more than half of the aluminum found in cars and trucks. In addition to the highly-publicized applications on the Ford F-150 and new Super Duty, Novelis supplies aluminum to most major automakers and is found in 180 vehicles.

Most recently, it supplied the aluminum that makes up 62 percent of the body of Cadillac’s CT6.

“We have an undisputed leadership position in this market,” Marco Palmieri, SVP and president of Novelis North America, said.

Despite the trend of automakers looking to mixed metals or more lightweight steel instead of going all-aluminum like Ford, Palmieri still expects growth.

He said that between fiscal year 2012 and 2015, the sales volume that comes from the automotive industry grew from 6 percent to 15 percent. He expects that number to jump to 25 percent in the next few years.

“That’s huge growth,” he said. “The need to lightweight the cars continues to be there.”

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