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Automakers Slow to Move to Use of Aluminum

The world’s largest rolled aluminum producer says its plans to shift rolling mill capacity to automotive body sheet are moving slower than expected, proving that automakers are slow to follow Ford’s lead in the widespread use of aluminum.

Novelis CEO Steve Fisher said the industry is going through a “digestion period” after Ford Motor Co. adopted an aluminum body in its top-selling F-150 pickup model. Other automobile manufacturers have not followed with similar major commitments for leading models.

“While Ford has gone very aluminum-intensive and been very successful with the F-150 more recently, everyone’s going to look at their portfolios of vehicles and take their own views on how quickly they need to move to aluminum,” Fisher said during the company’s second-quarter earnings call for its fiscal year 2016.

The U.S. aluminum industry, including producers like Alcoa Inc., are bullish on rising demand from the auto industry as carmakers seek to move away from steel, which is heavier, in order to comply with new emissions standards.

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