Audi AG is adopting Alcoa’s forged aluminum wheels with Dura-Bright surface treatment for the new 2009 Audi A6, which debuted recently at the Paris International Motor Show. The A6 is a luxury sedan, an update to the current Audi A4 targeted to compete with the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class vehicles.
Cleveland-based Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products, supplies forged and cast aluminum wheels for commercial vehicle, automotive, and defense applications, as well as aluminum space frames. Its Dura-Bright products are forged wheels enhanced with a surface-treatment that helps to prevent chipping, cracking, peeling. or corrosion, to eliminate the need for polishing.
Dura-Bright surface treatment has been offered for commercial vehicle wheels since 2003, and for automobile wheels since 2007. Alcoa now offers the surface treatment in several automotive OEM product lines. The Audi A6 will be the first European luxury sedan to feature it.
Alcoa emphases that forged aluminum wheels offer increased strength and durability versus cast wheels, as demonstrated in crush tests, and that forged wheels reduce un-sprung weight on a car to maximize vehicle performance, including more responsive steering and braking performance. Forged aluminum wheels are also 20% lighter than comparable cast aluminum wheels. Alcoa adds that the lower weight of the wheels contributes to lower CO2 emissions and better fuel economy.
“It was clear that Audi required a new wheel solution that is durable while retaining a high-quality, innovative finish,” stated Mike Parnell, vice president and general manager – Alcoa Auto Wheels.