Alcoa completes $300 million expansion to boost aluminum output for auto industry

FILE - This April 7, 2014 file photo shows the Alcoa logo in the lobby of Alcoa's headquarters in Pittsburgh. Alcoa Inc.’s second-quarter 2015 profit was smaller than analysts expected, although its revenue topped estimates. (AP Photo/Gene Puskar, File)
photo FILE - This April 7, 2014 file photo shows the Alcoa logo in the lobby of Alcoa's headquarters in Pittsburgh. Alcoa Inc.’s second-quarter 2015 profit was smaller than analysts expected, although its revenue topped estimates. (AP Photo/Gene Puskar, File)

Lightweight metals leader Alcoa announced today it has completed its $300 million expansion at its Tennessee facility dedicated to supplying aluminum sheet to the automotive industry.

The plant will provide aluminum sheet to automakers that include Ford Motor Company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and General Motors. The expansion is projected to add about 200 full-time jobs.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and other state and local officials will celebrate the expansion with a ribbon cutting event this afternoon.

The project in Blount County, Tenn., which began customer shipments earlier this month, is Alcoa's second major automotive expansion in North America backed by long-term customer contracts. The first, in Davenport, Iowa, reported record volume of automotive sheet shipments in the second quarter of 2015, up approximately 200 percent from the second quarter 2014.

"Automakers are demanding lighter, stronger materials that improve the performance of their vehicles and Alcoa is at the forefront of capturing that demand," Alcoa CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said. "Through our capacity expansions in Tennessee and Davenport, and breakthrough technologies like the Micromill TM, we have cemented Alcoa's position as the premier partner to the automotive industry as it turns to aluminum."

According to Ducker Worldwide, the amount of aluminum body sheet content in North American vehicles is expected to grow by three times from 2012 to 2015 and increase elevenfold by 2025 from 2012 levels. Alcoa estimates that it will grow its automotive sheet revenue approximately sixfold, from $229 million in 2013 to $1.3 billion in 2018.

The state-of-the-art facility is equipped with rolling mill technology that allows it to switch production depending on changing market demands, moving between automotive and can sheet production. The location also features a large recycling facility for automotive scrap which offsets expense, eliminates waste for automakers, lowers operational cost and reduces Alcoa's carbon footprint.