Manama, BAHRAIN, Sep 22, 2010 (Dow Jones Commodities News Select via Comtex) -- The prospects for recovery in the automotive market are positive overall, spelling good news for the aluminum industry, a key supplier to the sector, an independent industry consultant said Wednesday.
Werner Stelzer said recovery in the automotive sector--which consumes around 157 kilograms of aluminum per car--is "much faster than anticipated."
"Europe and U.S. domestic markets are down, but exports are booming--especially into Asian markets," Stelzer said. "Prospects are good overall."
World car production was badly hit during the economic downturn and fell 13.5% to 51.09 million passenger cars in 2009 from the previous year. The brunt of this was in the U.S., where car production fell 34%, followed by a 30.9% drop in Japan and a 17.7% decline in Europe. In contrast, Brazil saw a slight increase of 0.7% in 2009 while Chinese car output rose a staggering 47.6%.
Speaking at the Metal Bulletin aluminum conference in Bahrain, Stelzer said car body sheets consume the most aluminum, accounting for around 16.4% of the total in a car, followed by the chassis and suspension at 12.2% and the car structure at 5.8%.
The amount of aluminum used in cars has risen from 132 kg per car in 2005. Stelzer forecast aluminum consumption to rise to 225 kg per car by 2020.
He noted pressure on the automotive sector from regulation on end-of-life vehicles, higher raw materials prices, regulation on carbon emissions and the increased cost of fuel.