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TOKYO, April 22 (Kyodo) — Kobe Steel Ltd. said Monday it has begun mass production at its aluminum forging plant in Jiangsu Province, China, after completing expansions to double its output capacity and add melting and casting processes.

Kobe Steel said the 4.5 billion yen expansion, initiated in December 2011, was driven by a growing demand for aluminum automotive suspensions due to rapid growth in the Chinese automobile manufacture industry and a trend toward lighter vehicles.

The plant is run by Kobe Steel subsidiary Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products (China) Co., a joint venture with Mitsui & Co. and Toyota Tsusho Corp. The latest expansion has doubled its production capacity of aluminum forgings to 250,000 pieces per month.

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