Alcoa (NYSE: AA) today announced that its Alcoa Wheel and Transportation (AWTP) business is opening a production facility in Suzhou, China, marking an expansion that creates a full wheel manufacturing, distribution, sales and service network in China. This facility brings to China Alcoa’s industry-leading forged aluminum wheel technology that manufactures lighter, stronger and more fuel efficient commercial truck, trailer and bus wheels. This is the first wheel manufacturing facility Alcoa has opened in China, adding to the list of existing wheel facilities in North America, Europe and Japan.
“With the growth of China’s infrastructure and the success Alcoa’s wheel products have seen in the Chinese market over the past several years, it was a natural choice to further expand our global manufacturing footprint by building a facility that could manufacture our products locally,” said Tim Myers, President, Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products. The plant, which is currently up and running with a trained work force, machines and finishes forged aluminum wheels for commercial vehicles. Forged wheels are made from solid metal providing an aligned grain structure with four times the strength of cast wheels. Cast wheels are made from molten metal and subject to porosity or tiny air bubbles in the wheel.
AWTP has had a presence in China since 2004, when it began selling wheels out of Shanghai. Since then, the business has grown to include an employee base in Guangzhou, Beijing, Jinan and Suzhou. Through additions to our distribution network earlier this year, Alcoa has built a robust sales and service presence capable of supporting all of China.
“We are thrilled that our new facility is located in Wuzhong, part of the Suzhou municipal district, a city currently seeing enormous growth,” Myers said. “We have received tremendous support from the Suzhou Wuzhong Economic Development Zone and local governments. Their professionalism and guidance greatly facilitated the establishment of the business and allowed Alcoa to commence operations ahead of schedule.”