Source: Business Wire | November 24, 2015

Aluminum automotive sheet exits the Continuous Heat Treat line at Alcoa Inc. Tennessee Operations.

Aluminum automotive sheet exits the Continuous Heat Treat line at Alcoa Inc. Tennessee Operations.

Lightweight metals leader Alcoa today announced it has completed an expansion at its Tennessee facility dedicated to supplying aluminum sheet to the automotive industry. The plant will provide aluminum sheet to automakers that include Ford Motor Company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and General Motors.

“Automakers are demanding lighter, stronger materials that improve the performance of their vehicles and Alcoa is at the forefront of capturing that demand,” said Klaus Kleinfeld, Alcoa Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Through our capacity expansions in Tennessee and Davenport, and breakthrough technologies like the MicromillTM, we have cemented Alcoa’s position as the premier partner to the automotive industry as it turns to aluminum.”

The $300 million project in Tennessee – which began customer shipments earlier this month – is Alcoa’s second major automotive expansion in North America backed by long-term customer contracts. The first, in Davenport, Iowa, reported record volume of automotive sheet shipments in the second quarter of 2015, up approximately 200 percent from the second quarter 2014.

According to Ducker Worldwide, the amount of aluminum body sheet content in North American vehicles is expected to grow by three times from 2012 to 2015 and increase elevenfold by 2025 from 2012 levels. Alcoa estimates that it will grow its automotive sheet revenue approximately sixfold, from $229 million in 2013 to $1.3 billion in 2018.

The state-of-the-art facility is equipped with rolling mill technology that allows it to switch production depending on changing market demands, moving between automotive and can sheet production. The location also features a large recycling facility for automotive scrap which offsets expense, eliminates waste for automakers, lowers operational cost and reduces Alcoa’s carbon footprint.

The expansion created approximately 200 full-time jobs.

Alcoa executives, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and other state and local officials will celebrate the expansion in Tennessee with a ribbon cutting event this afternoon.

“We want to thank Alcoa for this project and the 200 new jobs in Blount County,” said Governor Haslam. “When a world renowned company like Alcoa expands here in Tennessee, it shows we can compete in the global marketplace, and it strengthens Tennessee’s continued growth as a leading automotive manufacturing state.”

The opening of the Tennessee facility follows Alcoa’s recent announcement that it is commercializing its breakthrough MicromillTM technology. Ford Motor Company and Alcoa last week said that the automaker will debut Micromill material on its 2016 Ford F-150 truck. The companies also agreed to collaborate on next-generation Micromill aluminum alloys for automotive parts.

Separately, Alcoa and Danieli Group announced they have entered into a letter of intent to work toward an agreement to sell Micromill equipment and license the patented Micromill technology to potential customers around the world.