This morning in metals news: a $2 million project seeks to develop ways to more cost-effectively produce lightweight automotive sheet metals; meanwhile, U.S. Steel joined the global nonprofit ResponsibleSteel™; and […]
Tag: automotive aluminum
This morning in metals news: Novelis announced the commercial availability of a new class of high-strength automotive aluminum; meanwhile, the United States Geological Survey updated its Mineral Deposit Database for […]
This morning in metals news, the Chinese city of Tangshan has called for called for a 50% cut in production over the next week, AK Steel won a $1.2 million […]
For off-road cognoscenti, there are few automobiles more iconic than Jaguar Land Rover’s Defender. Since its introduction in 1948, the rugged old workhorse has earned a reputation for go anywhere capability and durability as an article in the FT notes.
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The Defender’s engineering simplicity meant that the car could be repaired in the middle of the desert with the sparsest of resources and spare parts. But that rugged simplicity also led to its downfall. The SUV’s body-on-frame construction meant that it failed to meet modern safety crash tests and the engine just polluted the air too much to meet European emission rules. JLR consequently halted Defender production last year to the anguish of its diehard fans.
[caption id="attachment_83635" align="alignnone" width="300"] Land Rover Defender. Source: Autoexpress[/caption]
Well, it would seem JLR has aspirations for a comeback. According to the FT, the group expect to relaunch the Defender in 2019 and its design group is working furiously to reconcept a new vehicle that meets modern environmental and safety standards, requiring a complete redesign from the ground up of the old Defender.
It would be inconceivable if the new Defender was less capable than the old, a betrayal of that once iconic brand and, by all accounts, JLR has no intention of letting them down. Like the old Defender, a new version will employ considerable use of aluminum in the body, but unlike the old steel chassis will have an entirely new aluminum frame construction.
The company says model options will stretch from the “base car” to “very luxury” while the group’s special operations unit will work on a beefed up version to meet demand in Russian and China for an alternative to the Mercedes G 63 AMG. Although the new SUV will be designed and engineered in the U.K., it seems unlikely it will be built in the old Solihull plant where the previous Defender was assembled. JLR just doesn’t have the space in the U.K. and says the new vehicle will probably be manufactured in their Slovakia plant.
[caption id="attachment_83636" align="alignnone" width="300"] Goin’ off-road! Source: Autoexpress[/caption]
Auto Express, in an article late last year, summarized one of JLR’s principal challenges, how it can deliver the sort of off-road capability and versatility that is at the core of Land Rover’s DNA, while still making money out of a car that sells in relatively small numbers. The group says it hopes rising demand for the SUV segment and a sufficiently wide range of model options will generate sufficient volume for the group to make money off of the new Defender via a larger market appeal than the old model.
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For fans of the marque, the launch of the new model cannot come soon enough with the early reports suggesting demand at launch could be considerable if it proves, as promised, to be even better than the old.
Ford Motor Company took the automotive world by storm when it announced it was going to construct the iconic F-150 pickup truck from aluminum in 2015.
The very idea that America’s workhorse could be made from something so fragile as aluminum was a complete anathema to some people, but the resulting product on the whole has been well received.[caption id="attachment_76640" align="aligncenter" width="550"] An aluminum-bodied Rolls? It’s more likely than you think. Source: Adobe Stock/Dimitri Surkov.[/caption]
Lighter, more economical and more responsive it can be said in most quarters to have been a success; so much so that Ford has recently announced it will increase the aluminum content in 2017 models.
GM Plays Catch Up
Despite initially trashing the idea, General Motors has now said it would sink $877 million into its Flint, Mich., truck factory this year with the intention of converting many of the bodies for models such as the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups into aluminum.
Announcements from other manufacturers have been met with, on the whole, yawns, as consumers have come to expect light-weighting as the new trend and welcomed better fuel consumption and increased towing weights that have been the result.
Well, that’s all fine and dandy as they say in some parts of the world, but there’s a limit, right, for your sports car or your drive to work sedan? Sure, low weights are a good idea but what about your magic carpet, do you want that made out of aluminum?
Well, Rolls Royce, the ultimate word in motoring luxury, is also going aluminum in an effort, principally, to increase fuel consumption but also responsiveness and (if it’s possible) ride comfort. It’s true to say your average RR owner barely considers fuel consumption. Fuel costs are something lesser mortals think about, not the owner of a Phantom, Ghost or Wraith.
But, with a curb weight approaching 6,000 lbs. and a V12 engine displacing 6.75 liters, fuel economy is about what one would expect — 11 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. It may not be of concern to those that can afford the eye-watering price tag but legislation requires better, a challenge that faces not just Rolls but Bentley and other luxury brands such as Aston Martin.
So, the magic carpet is going lightweight for 2018 with new aluminum space-frame architecture. In fact, all future models hailing from BMW’s luxury wing at Goodwood will use the same modular aluminum-intensive space-frame chassis. Understandably, a company the size of Rolls-Royce — which builds only around 4,000 cars a year — cannot afford to develop different platforms for each model, so even the new SUV crossover known tentatively as Project Cullinan will use the same architecture come launch in 2018. Is it just me or does it sound like, possibly, a Rolls Royce SUV? Nah, I thought not. Doesn’t seem right, somehow, does it?
Anyway, following the initial announcement in February, the firm has now started testing a prototype and heavily disguised versions have been sighted with photos not really giving much away.
The shape would appear to be little changed from the current Phantom, as you would expect the difference would be in the ride, handling and responsiveness, not so much the overall body shape. I guess we can trust Rolls to get this right, they have doing well recently just posting last year’s results. Outside of China, Rolls Royce achieved the second-best annual performance in its 112-year history, the firm sold 3,785 vehicles in 2015, a drop of only 6.8% on the previous year’s record performance in spite of a 54% plunge in sales to China.
We look forward to a road test on the all-new aluminum bodied sedan with anticipation, even if the idea of an SUV crossover still inspires trepidation.
Investments in automotive aluminum keep popping up in MetalCrawler.
Constellium Expands Plant
Aluminum manufacturer Constellium recently said it has invested $40 million for a 210,000-square-foot expansion of its Detroit are plant to meet the increasing demand for aluminum by automotive manufacturers.
Constellium has hired nearly 200 additional workers at the Van Buren site and will employ a total of 370 there after it hires about 20 additional workers.
Freeport Plans to Expand
Freeport McMoRan Inc. is expanding and that has it poised to become the world’s biggest copper producer at a time of slowing China growth.
The Phoenix-based company will close the gap with current world No. 1 Codelco next year after expanding mines in Peru and the US and as the Chilean state-owned company runs out of profitable ore at a mine in the Atacama Desert.
US Dollar Climbing Again
Gold eased Monday as the US dollar gained ground against other currencies, sapping foreign investors’ interest in the dollar-denominated metal.
Car aficionados are an excitable lot.
A couple of days ago, Jaguar revealed its sleek, XF model to the world. Though 7-millimeters shorter and 3 mm lower than the car it replaces, the all-new XF has more rear space, more legroom, knee room and headroom. As is the case with any launch of a new car, enthusiasts just cannot stop raving about details such as horsepower, fuel consumption, and high-tech mumbo jumbo.
Yet, for metal analysts and, dare I say lovers (such as we her at MetalMiner), one thing about the new Jaguar XF that stands out is its weight. Or rather, the lack of it. The car, because of the extensive use of automotive aluminum (75% in its overall architecture), is 190 kilograms lighter than its predecessor, and 80 kg lighter than some rivals. That includes a lighter engine, too, which, for car lovers, translates into high mileage and lower pollution.
Today in MetalCrawler, Sherritt International gets another executive, Alcoa is now in the efficient automotive production business and the EU is imposing tariffs on Chinese Steel.
Sherritt Hires ArcelorMittal Canada Exec.
Sherritt International Corp. has named ArcelorMittal Mining Canada President and CEO Steve Wood as its new COO effective from April 27.
Wood will oversee Sherritt’s operations in Canada, Cuba and Madagascar, including the environmental, health and safety, sustainability, technology, engineering and marketing functions.
Alcoa Gets a Gov’t Loan For Efficient Vehicles
The US Department of Energy has offered a conditional commitment to lend Alcoa Inc. $259 million to expand automotive aluminum sheet production capacity at the supplier’s Tennessee factory, reviving a long-dormant loan program to support the development of energy-efficient vehicles.
The funds will finance most of the costs of a $275 million expansion project already under way at the plant, where Alcoa is converting capacity previously used for making aluminum cans to produce high-strength aluminum for automakers. The project began in 2013 and is expected to add 200 permanent jobs after its mid-2015 completion, plus an additional 400 jobs during peak construction, the company and the DOE said.
EU Imposes Anti-Dumping Duties on Chinese Steel
The European Union will impose anti-dumping duties from Thursday on imports of cold-rolled flat stainless steel from China and Taiwan, according to a notice on Wednesday in the EU’s Official Journal.
The EU will apply tariffs of up to 25.2% for sheet, coil and strip imports from China and up to 12 percent for Taiwanese product, following a complaint lodged in May 2014 by the European steel producers association, Eurofer.
A revolution has been quietly going on in the aluminum industry. While growth has been broadly positive across most sectors, rolled aluminum sheet used for automotive applications has been experiencing […]