US aluminium company Novelis is ramping up production at its new automotive aluminium sheet plant in Changzhou, in China’s Jiangsu province, to meet growing demand from the country’s automakers.

Novelis has spent US$100m on the facility which has the capacity to make 120,000 tonnes of aluminium sheet per year. The company is banking on growing demand for light weight materials in the automotive sector with aluminium increasingly replacing sheet steel for body panels and other body parts.

The company forecasts a compound annual growth rate of 30% in global demand for automotive aluminium sheets by the end of 2020. By 2025, the company expects global demand to reach 1.58m tons. Novelis plans to have 900,000 tons of capacity in place globally by 2015. 

In Asia, major automakers currently use around 50,000 tons of aluminium sheet per year but this is expected to grow rapidly.