Few months back saw a flurry of announcements of new aluminum alloys developed by some of the biggest names in the aluminum industry like Constellium, Norsk Hydro, Alcoa, UC Rusal and so on. This was in response to the increasing demand for aluminum components by the auto industry which is gradually veering away from steel to aluminum. While it is often thought that the shift could be recent, the real story is that the auto industry has been for quite sometimes now evincing great interest in aluminum thanks to its excellent lightweight properties. Automakers were impressed with aluminum’s sound durability, superior corrosion-resistance, and also improved maintenance capabilities, thanks to new tools and techniques.

Aluminum however has been used in the auto industry practically from day one of the mass production of aluminum. In 1899, the full aluminum body car, DUNLOP Sports Car was showcased at an international exhibition in BERLIN. Then in 1901, the first aluminum engine (manufactured by the famous German inventor, Karl Benz) made its debut at a race in NICE, FRANCE.

Following World War-II, aluminum had become inexpensive enough to be considered for use in mass-produced vehicles. In 1961, the British LAND ROVER company produced V-8 engine blocks made with aluminum cylinders. From thereon, aluminum auto parts gained a greater foothold. First was in transmission castings and then onto cylinder heads and suspension joints.

In 1962, the legendary race driver Mickey Thompson drove a car powered by an aluminum engine in the Indianapolis 500 race and finished in record time. Since then, a lot of automakers improved on the basic aluminum engine design and used it in various mass produced and racing models, including the famous Formula-I race cars. The first high-powered interest in aluminum parts however surged after the famous oil crisis of the 1970s. Auto designers driven by the need for a fuel economy, then worked with lighter aluminum components replacing heavy steel parts to reduce the overall weight of their vehicles. In 1997, AUDI started production of aluminum body cars. The use of aluminum then reduced the weight of the then AUDI cars bodies by up-to 239 kg and repaid handsome dividends in the form of reduced fuel consumption.

Today, the infinitely recyclable metal aluminum is the leading material for use in power-train and wheel applications while continuing to gain greater share in vehicle hoods, trunks, doors, and bumpers and even complete vehicle structures.


Extremely malleable, ALUMINUM is the third most common metal in the Earth’s crust. It blends easily to make lightweight but strong alloys; is very light, conducts heat and electricity very well; and is non-magnetic. These properties make it ideal for a wide range of uses from construction to cooking utensils and above all, auto manufacturing.

The use of automotive aluminum has grown continuously for 40 years on the trot.
New-gen aluminum’s usage in autos and commercial vehicles has further accelerated its overall usage at a faster clip.

From mass-market vehicles like the Ford F-150 to luxury cars like Audi, Mercedes Benz, and Land Rover, aluminum is finding many takers, increasingly becoming the ‘material of choice’ for automakers predominantly for its light-weight, strength, and environmental advantages. Its usage extends from the vehicle frame and body to electrical wiring, lamps, paint, transmission, air conditioner condenser and pipes, engine parts (like pistons, radiator, cylinder head), and magnets (for speedometers, tachometers, and air-bags).

Today, aluminum is second only to steel as the most used material in vehicles.


Aluminum on average is 10 to 40% lighter than steel, depending on the product. It is this light-weight attribute that allows auto-makers to increase vehicle’s dent resistance and make the body panels thicker while still lowering weight. This has allowed the vehicles made from aluminum to generate better acceleration, braking, and handling while also enabling the vehicles to haul and tow more since the engine is not carrying unneeded weight. Furthermore, aluminum’s rigidity allows the vehicle drivers with more immediate and precise control.

Likewise, the super malleability of aluminum allows vehicle designers to engineer vehicle shapes in ways that is optimized for better performance.


Aluminum can provide a weight savings of up-to 50% compared with the traditional mild steel when applied to an optimized automotive body structure. Furthermore, the same structure will be equal or superior in strength to steel and more importantly will absorb twice as much of the crash-induced energy.

Also the same weight savings will allow other vehicle systems (like the engine, transmission, suspension, and wheels) to be downsized.


How safe is aluminum from steel can be estimated from the fact that it can absorb more than twice the energy in a crash than the equivalent weight of mild steel. Large crush zones can be designed without corresponding weight penalties.

More importantly, it can be used to enhance the size and energy absorption capacity of a vehicle’s front and back crumple zones thereby elevating the vehicle’s safety without in any way increasing its weight. Further, aluminum made vehicles need shorter distances in the event of likely collisions; this way it can help prevent collisions.


Vehicles made with aluminum components are less prone to rust and scratches which means less rust repair and an increased lifespan. This makes aluminum components an ideal choice for vehicles that are used in challenging environments, like those used by the military and in rallies.


Vehicles made from aluminum components can be 24% lighter than those made from steel components. This will help save 0.7 gallons of fuel per 100 miles, with a saving of 15% in fuel consumption, when compared to those from steel components made vehicles.

Similar fuel savings can be generated in hybrid, diesel, and electric vehicles made with aluminum components.

In addition to the above benefits, old automobiles made with aluminum components can at the end of their lifespan, recover 90% (more than a half-million tons a year) of the automotive aluminum scrap and get them recycled.

• Recycling 1 ton of aluminum scrap helps save an energy equivalent of 21 barrels of oil.
• Aluminum auto manufacturing gives a 20% smaller lifecycle CO2 footprint compared to those used by steel auto manufacturing.
• Replacing a fleet of steel vehicles with aluminum made vehicles can save 108 million barrels of crude oil and avoid 44 million tons of C02 emissions.


Aluminum is the future because it offers the fastest, safest, most environmentally friendly and cost-effective way to increase vehicle performance, boost vehicle fuel economy, and reduce vehicle emissions while at the same time maintaining or improving vehicle safety and durability.


Aluminum alloys will be a big thing ahead. The new generation aluminum alloys, though a long and arduous process, will be helped along by new-generation computer software that can calculate the effects of alloying elements and also predict the behavior of a certain alloy, based on their chemical composition and alloy improvement procedures after production.

What is more interesting is that the superior and improved aluminum alloys will likely stay as the main lightweight materials in vehicles. The only obstacle in the way would be their relatively high price compared to steel ones. But they will still be far more affordable than carbon-fibre reinforced plastics (CFRPs). Market analysts expect their prices to drop in the future with their greater use, new recycling procedures, and techniques as well as lower input costs.

Another likely deciding trend that is predicted to dominate aluminum alloys characteristics in the future for automotive OEMs is expected to be super-plastic forming. This process will enable aluminum manufacturers to produce thin-walled aluminum sheet components. Predicted to be extremely cost-effective, the process can stretch the aluminum sheet at over 200% above its original size whilst maintaining or even improving tensile strength. The aluminum industry is also likely to see the increasing presence of recycled scrap content in future aluminum alloys, used by the auto industry.


The future will also likely see aluminum sheet taking the place of other materials like steel for the vehicle’s exterior and hang-on parts. In addition, OEMs also affirm that the use of aluminum will increase for vehicle bonnets, fenders, and doors in next-generation of vehicles.

Cast aluminum will be another dynamic growth market. Complex cast parts with high machining depth will offer tremendous potential. Aluminum solutions will also find greater relevance in crash-relevant areas of the vehicle chassis for the future.

Overall, aluminum will continue to transform the auto industry in the future in many ways for it offers a better cost-benefit ratio than any other material. This will likely see aluminum and aluminum components manufacturers, processors, and vehicle makers collaborate more closely in the coming years to unlock further potential for the use of aluminum.



Looking ahead, the auto industry will be one of the biggest drivers of the aluminum material and process development. The push will be fuelled by increasing urbanization and threshold values for the fuel consumption of each automotive manufacturer’s range of vehicles which in turn will force automakers to come up with new concepts. As a result of these factors the demand for lightweight materials like aluminum will gather more steam.

On the other hand, the same factors supplemented by stringent demand from automakers for lightweight materials with excellent formability properties essential for sharp-edged automobile designs, will compel aluminum manufacturers to reduce aluminum’s sheet thickness while retaining high-strength value. This combined with good crash performance, sound ductility, and high stiffness levels, will be essential to satisfy the rigidity requirements of the vehicle chassis.

A report by ICRA research reveals that the share of the automobile industry in domestic aluminum consumption has seen a steady growth from 16% in 2008-2009 to around 32% in 2019-2020. ICRA’s report believes that vehicular weight reduction is a focus of the Indian automobile manufacturers to improve fuel efficiency. This in turn, would entail a higher per-unit usage of aluminum going forward.

The report also stresses that the increased demand from the auto industry can be met either through recycling of higher quantity of imported auto-grade scrap or production of primary auto grade alloyed aluminum.


Factoring in the current trends, market analysts believe that the auto industry offers the prospect of exponential growth for the aluminum industry. The demand and requirements for aluminum will continue to grow better by the day.

If you’re looking to purchase aluminum components, then look no further than SBMI Group based out of Hyderabad, India; this Group diversified portfolio comprises segments ranging from aluminum / manganese components to fan manufacturing, and retail.

One of its division, Sri Balaji Metal Industries, is a leading high-performance; high-quality aluminum and magnesium ingot manufacturer (one of the biggest non-ferrous alloy manufacturers in SOUTH INDIA); it presently manufactures 35+ different grading GDC & PDC alloys.


The company’s magnesium die-cast casting components offer easy machinability, good thermal and electrical conductivity, thin-wall and complex parts applications, noise and vibration dampening, finishing, and above all, full recycling capability.

Overall, the company’s extensive portfolio of aluminum and magnesium components offers superior mechanical properties that meet specific & stringent quality criteria requirements thereby catering to the overall customer-satisfaction. All the alloys undergo stringent quality checks to match the complex compositions & specifications of the customer.

There are two more divisions –

Sree Padmavati Metal Industries, which has one of the biggest aluminum dross processing unit (a one of a kind state-of-the-art facility) that processes aluminum dross and recover metal.

Gaglani Die Casting deals in High-Pressure Die Casting and aluminum pressure die cast components.

You can count on these companies to meet all of your aluminum metal requirements!!!!!

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Sri Balaji Metal Industries supplies an extensive portfolio of alloys that offers superior mechanical properties. By employing the best technologies processes & innovative products we continously strive to deliver more value to our customer...Read More


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