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New Alcan Automotive Strategy Focuses on Global, Value-Adding Growth

Alcan Automotive : 17 July, 2001  (Company News)
Alcan Inc. has announced a new automotive strategy and organization designed to maximize value creation through profitable growth in the expanding market for lightweight automotive materials and solutions.
Alcan's automotive activities have been restructured to move from a business development emphasis to one of market growth in four selected business areas: vehicle structures, engineered shaped products, high-strength sheet products and primary ingot products. The company's business activities in this sector will be known as Alcan Automotive.

The announcement is an outcome of last year's merger of Alcan with Zurich based Alusuisse Group Ltd, in which both companies contributed leading automotive market positions. The new organization is a result of the integration of both companies' complementary automotive strengths.

The new organization will be led by Kurt Wolfensberger, who is named president, Alcan Automotive, in addition to his current role as president, Alcan Engineered Products. Mr. Wolfensberger will lead Alcan's automotive activities and will coordinate the implementation of the global strategy, including the direction of customer alliances.

'This strategy reflects the fact that lightweight solutions have now achieved a proven position in the automotive industry,' says Mr. Wolfensberger. 'This in turn drives the need to transition from a business development focus to one of value maximization through profitable growth. Consistent with this, we are redefining our operating businesses with a market segment focus. We will concentrate on key customers in attractive market segments that have strong growth rates and where our expertise, technology and assets provide a real competitive advantage.'

The new Alcan Automotive organization will target the following business segments:

Automotive Structures & Design lightweight structural systems and technology solutions.

Automotive Engineered Shaped Products forged and cast components for suspension, chassis, powertrain and structures.

Automotive Sheet high-quality, high-value aluminum sheet supply for automakers.

Automotive Primary Products primary ingot for cast automotive products.

Transportation is the largest and fastest-growing market segment for aluminum. By Alcan's estimates, total Western World shipments to the transportation market topped 8.4 million metric tons last year. Automotive aluminum accounts for the major share of the growth, climbing from typically less than 100 lbs. (45 kg) per vehicle in the late 1970s to an estimated 255 lbs. (116 kg) today. In North America, Alcan expects that figure to surpass 350 lbs. (156 kg) per vehicle by 2010. Meanwhile, the European Aluminium Association estimates that the amount of aluminum used in each European car will increase from the present 198 lbs. (90 kg) to 287 lbs. (130 kg) by the year 2005.
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