Kobe Steel to Expand Automotive Aluminium Materials Output

Kobe Steel will expands aluminium forging products output by around 30% to 6.3 million units at Japan and USA in 2008, said the senior officer Hideo Ohgi at press conference on Tuesday. The firm also increases the aluminium panel materials output to monthly 2,000 tonnes by 2010, which is near double from current level. The firm, which has more than 80% market share for aluminium forging suspension in Japan, expands the suspension output capacity to more than annual 3 million units at Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products in USA after adding new no.4 press machine in April 2008. The firm has 3.8 million units of capacity at Daian plant in Mie. The firm expects the output is 2.4 million units at Daian due to model change and 2.4 million units or full capacity at KAAP for fiscal 2007. The firm, has more than 50% share for aluminium automotive panel materials in Japan, produces monthly 1,200-1,300 tonnes of panel products now. The firm tires to expand the output to potential demand growth in Japan when the aluminium automotive panel rate was estimated 12% in 2005 against 20% in USA and Europe. The aluminium and copper unit tries to expand the sales for automobile to follow the growing market. The unit targets 25% of automobile rate for total sales in fiscal 2008 ending March 2009 compared with 20% in fiscal 2005. The unit expects the automobile products sales will increase by around 50%.