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Canadian auto-parts maker Linamar Corp. is betting that aluminum will continue to replace steel as automakers strive to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles, announcing the biggest acquisition in its 50-year history Thursday.
The Guelph, Ont.-based company has made an offer to acquire France’s Montupet SA for $1.16 billion plus debt, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval.
Montupet makes complex aluminum castings for the global automotive industry with a particular focus on cylinder heads, complementing Linamar’s existing aluminum machining business.
“Aluminum is becoming more and more prevalent in the vehicle,” Linamar CEO Linda Hasenfratz said in an interview from Paris, where she announced the deal.
“Montupet is excellent at casting design and we excel at machining design, so together we can come up with a better mousetrap.”
The metal has taken on a new shine thanks to Ford Motor Co.’s new aluminum-bodied F-150 pickup truck, which is 700 pounds lighter and up to 29 per cent more fuel efficient than its steel predecessor.
Aluminum is one-third as dense as steel — hence the lighter weight — but Ford has proven that it can be just as strong if it’s heat-treated in the right way.
According to Hasenfratz, the average amount of aluminum in a vehicle is expected to grow from about 350 pounds today to 500 pounds by 2025, and the average weight of aluminum parts will more than double from 40 pounds today to over 100 pounds by 2025.
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