The Good News about 2006

Auto industry developments make metalcasting news

December 26, 2006 — Judging by our site traffic, most of the important and/or significant metalcasting news of 2006 related to the ups and downs of the automotive industry — which, of course, had its own “significant” year. Online readers and visitors of Foundry Management & Technology demonstrated a lasting affinity for news from North America's vehicle manufacturers, including the most frequently “clicked” item, the controversial story of “tainted” Brazilian pig iron and how it has found its way to North American foundries.

Other reports on the “most clicked” list gave more hopeful, forward-looking information on the auto industry. This included Chrysler’s plans for a single, all-aluminum V-6 engine platform; a $48-million capital-improvement program at GM Powertrain’s Bedford, IN, operation; GM’s plans to employ aluminum cylinder heads and a CGI block for its new turbo-diesel V-8; and possibly the most important automaking story of the year for metalcasters — Honda’s decision to expand its vehicle output in North America by 200,000 units, which will include a $50-million expansion of aluminum diecasting and machining operations at the new five-speed transmission plant in Tallapossa, GA, and $75 million worth of investments at the Anna, OH, engine plant to increase the number and types of engine parts it produces.

The auto industry’s problems drew their share of readership at foundrymag.com, too, including Ford’s August announcement that it would speed up North American production cuts

And, to no surprise, our readers/visitors were engaged by the ongoing changes in the metalcasting industry — at home and abroad. This includes the sale of AmeriCast; the bankruptcy and reorganization of J.L. French; strategic acquisitions by Harley-Davidson and Nemak. These high-level turnovers were, thankfully, supported in the news cycle by notable new operations and installations, such as those at Technocast and Progress Castings. More of the same in 2007 would be a great prospect.

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