Corus is to spend €42 million (£29 million) on its aluminium rolling mill at Koblenz, Germany to widen its automotive industry product range. Engineering and construction has started with first production expected during the last quarter of 2004.

A major part of the investment is the introduction of cold rolling technology for a width up to 2800 mm. Wide cold rolled coil can then be heat treated on the annealing and processing line in the Duffel rolling mill in Belgium, widening its automotive body sheet range from 1700 mm to 2300 mm.

Duffel recently commissioned a new continuous annealing line with pre-treatment specifically designed for the process and production of high-quality aluminium coil for use in the automotive industry.

Corus claims the new development responds to the growing demand from vehicle manufacturers for aluminium parts to reduce vehicle weight and fuel consumption. Wider automotive body sheet is increasingly required by carmakers to make roofs.