SHANGHAI, Sep 19 (SMM) – Improving welding techniques, falling aluminium sheet costs and tightening government policies will drive the adoption of aluminium in car body panels, and the potential for growth is significant given the current low level, said Liang Xuan, senior aluminium analyst at SMM.
Automakers face hefty cost pressure to produce a vehicle with a full aluminium body, and they could not see profits unless the car is sold at above 600,000 yuan. It is more likely to see aluminium engine hoods, trunk lids and doors in medium- and high-end automobile.
China’s auto market has been sluggish since 2018. Automobile production is expected to decline 13.5% in 2019, with aluminium consumption in car panels slipping 3%, Liang told delegates at the 2019 China New Automotive Materials Forum at China International Industry Fair in Shanghai on Thursday September 19.
Car production in China, however, is likely to return to expansion in 2020, after the new vehicle emission standards took effect in the middle of this year.
Electric vehicles would be a stellar consumer of aluminium sheets, as most EVs use aluminium engine hoods and fenders.
SMM data showed that global aluminium car panel capacity totals 2.7 million mt, with 34% of which in China.