Around the world, fuel efficiency regulations are growing more stringent to combat global warming. As part of this trend, the automotive industry is using more aluminum in an effort to make vehicles more lightweight.
UACJ is responding to this demand growth by positioning automotive parts and materials as strategic products for diverse applications.
Full-Fledged Operation of a Production Line for Automotive Body Sheet (ABS) in North America
Once the decision is made to use aluminum in the body panels of mass-produced vehicles, demand for the material will surge. In anticipation, UACJ has formed an ABS manufacturing and sales company in North America as a joint venture with a leading European aluminum manufacturer. Operations at the new plant began in June 2016, using a stable supply of base materials sourced from one of the world’s largest aluminum mills, operated by a UACJ Group company in North America, and supplying automotive manufacturers in Japan, the United States and Europe.
- About Automotive Body Sheet
- ABS refers to the exterior panels used on automobile hoods, doors and roofs.
In North America, Acquiring the No. 1 Brand in Automotive Structural Materials
In April 2016, we welcomed Whitehall Industries—the leading North American brand in automotive structural materials—into the UACJ Group. This acquisition pushed the UACJ Group’s share of the North American market for structural materials above 50%, boosting its market presence. At the same time, benefiting from Group synergies in the areas of production technologies and enhanced R&D capabilities, going forward the company will work to expand business with manufacturers of electric vehicles and Japanese-affiliated manufacturers.
- About Structural Materials
- Structural materials are used in frameworks, including body frames and sunroof rails.
Strengthening Our Supply Structure for Heat Exchanger Materials, Centered on Europe and China
To strengthen our structure for supplying heat exchanger materials in Europe, in December 2015 we established a German sales company through a joint investment with a company in Greece. Similarly, in the Chinese market we increased our percentage of investment in a local manufacturing company from 25% to 49% in February 2016 and decided to establish a sales company in Shanghai. By building a global supply structure that includes locations in Japan, Thailand and the Americas, we plan to expand sales further.
- About Heat Exchanger Materials
- Heat exchanger materials are used in radiators and other devices that maintain constant engine temperature by removing heat.
- Establishing a Center for Automotive Parts and Materials in Japan
- The UACJ Group is building a more optimal manufacturing structure by reallocating and concentrating its product categories at locations in Japan. The Nagoya Works now specializes in general materials, centered on automotive parts and materials. As we also expect demand for automotive aluminum materials to grow in Japan, we are positioning the Nagoya Works as our central location in Japan for automotive parts and materials. We are augmenting facilities and promoting productivity improvements. During the current fiscal year, we plan to increase production volumes.