Novelis has opened what it says is China's first plant dedicated to the production of heat-treated aluminum automotive sheet.
The opening makes Novelis, which is headquartered in Atlanta, the only company to produce automotive aluminum sheet in all three of the world's major automobile producing regions - Asia, Europe and North America, according to a press release issued by the company.
Novelis, a unit of Mumbai, India-based Aditya Birla Group, is the largest single producer of aluminum rolled products, accounting for about 14 percent of the world's supply. The products are used in automobiles, beverage cans and flat-screen televisions.
The wholly-owned facility, located in the Changzhou National Hi-Tech District, represents a $100 million investment by Novelis to expand its global footprint to serve the rapidly growing market for automotive aluminum, the company said. With an annual capacity of 120,000 metric tons, the new facility will assist China in meeting its environmental goals and provide customers in Asia and abroad with high-quality automotive sheet for use in lightweight vehicle structures and body panels such as hoods, doors, fenders and lift gates, Novelis said.
"The opening of our Changzhou plant further solidifies Novelis' position as the aluminum partner-of-choice for automakers around the world," said Phil Martens,President and CEO of Novelis. "Global automakers seeking to drive fuel efficiency, higher performance and innovative design can now source locally-produced Novelis aluminum automotive sheet in every major region where they make vehicles."
Since 2011, Novelis has invested more than $550 million globally to triple its automotive sheet capacity to 900,000 metric tons by 2015, the company said. Demand for aluminum is rapidly increasing as automakers strive to design a new generation of lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles with reduced life-cycle emissions. Each 10 percent weight reduction can result in a 5 to 7 percent fuel savings, according to Novelis.
Novelis aluminum products are now featured in more than 180 models of vehicles produced by leading automakers around the world. Novelis forecasts the global demand from automakers for aluminum sheet will grow by approximately 30 percent each year through the end of the decade.