Keynote speaker Dave McCurdy, CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said that getting the target date of the Obama administration’s national prog-ramme to increase fuel economy standards moved from 2020 to 2016 was his organisation’s ‘single biggest achievement’ since he became CEO three years ago.
Regarding fuel economy targets, McCurdy added, ‘To get there, we have to downsize, down weight, and use more aluminium.’
A panel titled, ‘Perspectives of a Transformed Market’ included the Aluminum Association’s vice chairman, Tom Brackmann, president of Nichols Aluminum; Fernando Simoes Henriques, president of Extrusions Americas for Hydro Aluminum North American and Kevin Kramer, president of Growth Initiatives for Alcoa Inc.
Mr Brackmann focused on the highs and lows facing the industry but noted that larger cars and larger houses being built means more use of aluminium.
“Over time we have a very good story to tell and we will continue to see progress in aluminium shipments. I think it is a very bright future.”
Mr Henriques spoke about recovery time, but said it is time to put ‘aside the bad and capitalise on the good.’ “We need to fight as ‘We’ rather than as ‘I’ in our industry.
"We have to reorganise the market and apply more innovation and creativity.”
Mr Kramer told the audience conditions are mixed, but there has been a vast improvement from last year.
Mr Kramer urged more focus on macroeconomics and demographics, an area where China is currently leading the way. He also highlighted the importance of product appeal and sustainability.