Issue: May 2004


Supply and Demand



by AI Staff

North America

Alcan Expands to North America

Alcan executives have started the operation of their first automotive applications facility in the U.S. The plant will initially manufacture 300,000 bumper beams annually for an unspecified OEM program, with enough capacity to do two-and-a-half to three times that volume says Dale Ewing, general manager, Automotive Structures North America.

Ewing will manage the Novi facility (which will also serve as Alcans North American Headquarters for structures and sheet) and a sister facility in Saguenay, Quebec, Canada, which will open later in the year.

Alcan currently does around $1.2 billion in sales of automotive applications and Ewing sees great growth potential in North America with plans on expanding into the manufacture of other lightweight structural products such as engine cradles, subframes and instrument panel beams. The facility will be up and running in about three months and will employ 50 to 60 full-time workers.

Ford Opens New Dearborn Truck Plant

Ford Motor Company has opened the doors of the new Dearborn Truck Plant. The truck plant is a key part of the companys commitment to become a lean, flexible and green manufacturer, the company says. The plant has begun production of the 2004 F-150 and will ramp up to full production later this summer.

The new truck plant, which is producing the 2004 Ford F-150, is Ford's flagship of 21st century manufacturing. Featuring Ford's flexible manufacturing system, according to Ford, the Dearborn Truck Plant showcases state-of-the-art production in a setting that emphasizes quality, flexibility, lean processes, worker safety, comfort and environmental sustainability.

The plant has begun production of the 2004 F-150 and will ramp up to full production later this summer. At full production, it will employ over 2,000 people and produce approximately 250,000 vehicles each year.

BMW to Participate in Research Project With Hydrogen-Powered 7 Series Cars

The U.S. Department of Energy awarded a grant to a partnership, which includes BMW and is led by Air Products and Chemicals Inc., for a combined research project titled, "Controlled Hydrogen Fleet and Infrastructure Demonstration Project." This five-year program will use Federal funds, as well as donations from partnership members, to finance construction and testing of 24 hydrogen filling stations in California.

Due to the nature of the project, the stations will vary from using renewable resources such as wind power to using a hydrogen pipeline. Some stations will be fixed; others will be relocatable.

Partnership members Toyota, Honda and Nissan will contribute a total of 65 fuel-cell powered vehicles to the project. BMW, as the leader in hydrogen internal combustion engines will provide up to 15 7-Series cars, the only test vehicles using proven internalcombustion engines.




ASIA

Motorola to Build New Manufacturing Facility in China

Motorola Inc. has signed an agreement with the Tianjin Economic Technological Development Area (TEDA) to build a new manufacturing facility that will expand Motorola's presence in one of the world's fastest growing automotive markets. The new facility is expected to be built in phases. The first phase is to be complete in late 2004 and will be about 200,000 sq.ft.

The new facility will be adjacent to existing Motorola manufacturing facilities in Tianjin. The majority of manufacturing will be for Motorola's automotive electronics business, which will produce engine control units, interior electronics, telematics and powertrain products as soon as 2005. The new facility also will have manufacturing lines for Motorola's embedded computing and energy systems businesses.

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