Public Transportation Sector Fuels Demand for Extruded Structures amidst COVID-19 Era
In the first half of 2022, companies in the automotive aluminum extrusion market experienced a dip in sales volume and sales revenue due to factory shutdowns and trade restrictions owing to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Companies are anticipating an upward trend in market growth by the end of 2022, as the pandemic subsides in Europe, the U.S., India, and Russia. Currently, manufacturers in the automotive aluminum extrusion market have resumed full operation in countries with limited number of COVID-19 cases.
Manufacturers are adopting contingency plans to address future uncertainty in businesses. Apart from vehicles, manufacturers are catering to the needs of end customers in the public transportation sector. They are maintaining business continuity plans with customers who are a part of essential sectors in the automotive industry.
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Electric Vehicles Set Pace for New Mobility Standards
Aluminum is gaining popularity as the fastest growing automotive material. Electric vehicles (EVs) are driving the automotive aluminum extrusion market. The growing use of aluminum in chassis applications, vehicle closure parts, and body-in-white parts are bolstering market growth. As such, automakers are adapting to new mobility standards, and are bullish on the growth of aluminum in the EV sector.
Analysts at the Transparency Market Research (TMR) are anticipating Y-O-Y growth for the automotive aluminum extrusion market, as EVs are becoming readily available for customers. Moreover, aluminum extruded structures help to offset the battery weight and lead to fuel savings. Improved vehicle performance is the key advantage of automotive aluminum extruded components.
New Aluminum Alloys with Thermal Deformation Suit Lightweight Applications
The automotive aluminum extrusion market is anticipated to grow at a favorable CAGR of 6% throughout the assessment period. This can be attributed to manufacturers being keen on using aluminum alloys in lightweight applications. However, the connection mode is limited in the case of aluminum alloys, which leads to problems in riveting and welding, resulting in poor static performance. Hence, companies in the automotive aluminum extrusion market should collaborate with researchers to develop new aluminum alloys using cost-efficient methods such as thermal deformation, micro alloying, and heat treatment.
Manufacturers are tapping value-grab opportunities in North America. For instance, Norsk Hydro ASA— a Norwegian aluminum and renewable energy company, is investing in output capacities for approx. 23 locations in North America with its enormous competency in design and technical support. Manufacturers are adopting latest technologies in metallurgy and application engineering to gain market recognition.
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Collaboration with Universities Helps to Narrow Gap in R&D and Production
Groundbreaking innovations in extrusion equipment are contributing toward the growth of the automotive aluminum extrusion market. For instance, manufacturers should take cues from the Constellium University Technology Center at Brunel University London to develop one-of-its-kind extrusion equipment, which deploys rapid prototyping of automotive components. Automakers should use industry-standard extrusion equipment to significantly reduce development times while manufacturing components using advance aluminum alloys.
Companies in the automotive aluminum extrusion market need to increase R&D muscle to innovate in new alloy processing technologies meant for lightweight applications. They are setting their collaboration wheels in motion with R&D centers at leading universities to develop extruded components as per the automaker’s specifications. Rapid prototyping is the key to reduce development time of vehicles. R&D centers are conducting simulation and precision testing for crash, towing, and assembly processes.
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Automotive Aluminum Extrusion Market: Overview
- The global automotive aluminum extrusion market is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 6% during the forecast period, owing to increase in demand for lightweight vehicles across the globe due to enactment of stringent emission norms across the globe. This, in turn, is likely to increase the demand for aluminum extrusion in automotive applications. Rise in demand for electric vehicles across the globe is likely to propel the automotive aluminum extrusion market, as the use of aluminum in electric vehicles helps enhance the range of these vehicles.
- Rise in the use of aluminum in vehicles, owing to increase in their fuel-efficiency is likely to boost the automotive aluminum extrusion market across the globe. Use of aluminum in automotive has been increasing consistently for the past 40 years. Aluminum is the second-most used material in vehicles, after steel.
Drivers of Automotive Aluminum Extrusion Market
- Rise in consumer trend toward fuel-efficient vehicles across the globe is likely to drive the global automotive aluminum extrusion market. Use of aluminum saves an equivalent of 108 million barrels of crude oil in energy compared with a fleet of traditional steel vehicles.
- Aluminum can provide weight saving of up to 50%, as compared to that offered by traditional mild steel structure, which is likely to enhance fuel-efficiency of a vehicle. Vehicles having aluminum material has a 20% smaller lifecycle CO2 footprint, as compared to steel vehicles. Furthermore, a fleet of aluminum vehicles saves an equivalent of 44 million tons of CO2 emissions.
- Stringent emission norms have been prompting automotive parts manufacturers to focus on the reduction of vehicle weight for the last few years in order to achieve maximum fuel-efficiency and comply with norms enacted by regulatory bodies
- Aluminum can absorb twice the amount of crash energy as compared to that absorbed by mild steel. Moreover, it can provide weight savings of up to 50% as compared with that offered by traditional mild steel structure. Aluminum can be recycled after the life span of the vehicle ends, which is a key advantage of using aluminum in automotive applications. Almost 90% of automotive aluminum scrap materials are recycled annually. A single ton of recycled aluminum scrap creates energy-savings equivalent of approximately 2,300 gallons of gasoline. This is anticipated to boost the automotive aluminum extrusion market across the globe.
Challenges for Automotive Aluminum Extrusion Market
- Major vehicle manufacturers shutdown their plants due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a decline in vehicle production and sale. Prominent automakers, including GM, Ford, and FCA, under pressure from unions to protect employees and to follow government advisories, decided to idle their plants across the globe. Toyota, Honda, Tesla, and Nissan also announced a temporary suspension of production across the globe, which is a major challenge for the automotive aluminum extrusion market across the globe.
- Aluminum is an expensive material, whose costs 2 to 3 times higher than steel. Aluminum frames and body parts are difficult to weld, as compared to steel frames and steel body parts, which is likely to be a challenge for the global automotive aluminum extrusion market
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Segmentation of Automotive Aluminum Extrusion Market
- The global automotive aluminum extrusion market has been segmented based on type, vehicle, aluminum grade, and region
- Based on vehicle, the utility vehicle segment dominated the global automotive aluminum extrusion market owing to increase in demand for SUVs and MUVs from consumers. Among passenger vehicles, demand for compact vehicles has increased notably in the last five years and is becoming a key segment for automakers in the market due to its increasing demand.
- Based on type, the sub-structure segment held a major share of the global automotive aluminum extrusion market. Rise in demand for lightweight vehicles prompts major vehicle manufacturers to prefer aluminum material for sub-structure, which in turn is anticipated to boost the automotive aluminum extrusion market across the globe.
Automotive Aluminum Extrusion Market: Regional Analysis
- The global automotive aluminum extrusion market has been segregated into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa
- Asia Pacific and Europe are projected to be highly lucrative markets during the forecast period. This is primarily due to the presence of prominent automotive industry in China, Germany, Japan, and India. Rise in demand for electric vehicles across Asia Pacific is likely to boost the automotive aluminum extrusion market in the region. Europe has presence of major OEMs and tier-1 suppliers who have advanced research and development facilities, which in turn is anticipated to boost the automotive aluminum extrusion market across Europe.
Automotive Aluminum Extrusion Market: Competition Landscape
- Key players operating in the global automotive aluminum extrusion market include
- BENTLER International
- Bonnell Aluminum Extrusion Company
- Constellium SE
- Innoval Technology
- Kaiser Aluminum Corp
- KOBE STEEL Ltd.
- Norsk Hydro ASA
- Novelis Inc.
- OmniMax International
- ProfilGruppen Extrusions AB
- SMS Schimmer
- UACJ Automotive Whitehall Industries, Inc.
- Walter Klein GmbH & Co. KG
- Key players at the global level are expanding their footprint by engaging in mergers and acquisitions with several players in the industry. In April 2022, Novelis Inc. acquired Aleris Corporation, a global company that supplies rolled aluminum products. Consequently, Novelis is currently even better positioned to cater to the increasing customer demand for aluminum by expanding its innovative product portfolio. In March 2022, Novelis Inc. established a recycling system with one of its automotive customers in Lower Bavaria, Germany. The main objective of such recycling establishment is to reduce CO2 emission. Recycling aluminum produces 95% less greenhouse gas emissions as compared to primary aluminum. Thus, the new recycling model enables savings of around 120,000 tons (or 95%) of CO2 emissions.
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