Alcoa is investing US$13m to expand its wheel manufacturing plant in Europe, to meet growing demand for its lightweight, durable, low-maintenance aluminium truck wheels.

The expansion of the Székesfehérvár, Hungary facility will enable Alcoa to produce twice as many Dura-Bright EVO surface-treated wheels in Europe by early 2015, compared with current production levels.

"Demand for Alcoa's forged aluminium wheels continues to grow in Europe, as emissions regulations drive up the need for stronger, lighter and easier-to-maintain wheels that increase payload, reduce maintenance costs and enhance sustainability," said Tim Myers, president, Alcoa wheel and transportation products. "Additional capacity at our manufacturing facility in Hungary positions us to capture this growth."

Alcoa's new Dura-Bright EVO surface-treated wheel maintains all the benefits of its predecessor, the Dura-Bright wheel with XBR technology, while taking the wheel's performance to a new level. The Dura-Bright EVO surface-treated wheel is 10 times more resistant to corrosion primarily caused by road salts and weather elements. In addition, the wheel is up to three times more resistant to chemicals, including hydrofluoric acid, found in the toughest truck wash cleaning agents. This enables the use of a wider variety of cleaning solutions to simplify maintenance, while preserving the integrity and brightness of the wheel.

Construction on the production line expansion began in January, with completion expected in early 2015. It will create 35 new permanent jobs and approximately 215 temporary jobs during construction. The Hungarian Government will contribute $4.4m toward the construction through its Regional Operative Programme, a government-led economic development initiative.

Commenting on the importance of Alcoa to the Hungarian economy, state secretary for foreign affairs and external economic relations Péter Szíjjártó, said, "One of the most important players of the Hungarian-American economic cooperation's success story is Alcoa, bringing innovation-based, high added-value production into Hungary."

"This expansion will add to Alcoa's successful portfolio of Hungarian businesses that produce value-added products for the automotive and aerospace industries," said Bela Forgo, country manager of Alcoa Hungary. "We are pleased to grow our presence in Hungary, a country with a highly skilled workforce and industrial policies supporting investment and technological development."

Unlike competitive surface coatings that can crack, peel, corrode and dull quickly, the Dura-Bright surface-treated wheel allows brilliant shine to last even after years of use, without the need for polishing. Dura-Bright is not a coating, but rather a surface treatment that penetrates the aluminium and becomes an integral part of the wheel. Regular cleaning with commonly used truck cleaning products or with just soap and water will keep the wheels shiny, even after hundreds of washes and thousands of kilometres, reducing maintenance costs. In addition, Alcoa's wheels are made from one piece of forged aluminium, making them lighter and five times stronger than steel wheels, increasing payload and fuel efficiency.

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