BMW's use of aluminum, which helps in reducing the vehicle's weight, has increased gradually in recent years. The metal, which is lighter than steel and is recyclable, has become more important for BMW as like other carmakers, it aims to cut the weight of its cars to promote fuel efficiency.
Frank Wienstroth, who handles BMW's communications on the supply chain and sustainability, said that its major changes include the introduction of aluminum doors and hoods in some models as well as casted structural components.
He explained that how aluminum is applied varies considerably between different models. He cited the new 5 series as an example, saying that it has aluminum parts that total nearly 20% of the vehicle weight.
BMW's Five Series ActiveHybrid concept will go into full-scale production as early as next year. In the transport sector, aluminum recycling rates are estimated at more than 90%.
In the building sector, rates are at 95% while in packaging, it is estimated to be around 35%. Jaguar Land Rover said that the average car weighs about 1,200-1,400 kg, containing around 500-700 kg steel.
Aluminum is likely to be used in wheels and hoods. Use of aluminum also results to other types of savings such as less wear and tear. Earlier this week, BMW posted its best ever quarterly pre-tax profit, boosted by surging sales of luxury cars in China, the relaunch of its 5 series saloon and a weaker euro currency.