Alone, Ford Motor, the second largest US automaker, is credited now for lifting aluminum from the bear markets that have hit most commodities as it lifts demand for the metal’s industrial usage.
The carmaker is currently in the process of hiring new workers to lift production of the all new 2015 Ford F-150 truck, which has an aluminum body, after the switch added demand beyond the company’s forecasts. With auto usage expected to increase as more companies introduce models that make use of the lightweight metal, the US consumption of aluminum is predicted to surge around 7 percent this year from 2014’s quota, to 5.38 million tons (the biggest figure since 2006) according to Morgan Stanley. While the Bloomberg Commodity Index is approaching a 12-year low, the aluminum prices are actually on the rise – almost 2 percent during the past 12 months. “The demand profile for aluminum is positive, for sure, and that’s from the light-weighting trends in the auto sector,” comments David Wilson, an analyst at Citigroup Inc. in London.
Ford opted to move from the traditional steel structure to the new alloy as authorities drive the need to lower fuel consumption – with the lightweight metal helping to improve mileage. While there are other auto models that use aluminum – most recently the new Jaguar XE compact sedan – the new F-150 marks the largest production ever for an aluminum-bodied vehicle. The lightweight metal helps the truck improve on the highway mileage figure of the outgoing model by as much as 29 percent, with a 26 miles (42 kilometers) per gallon figure.