Auto/Steel Partnership Celebrates 25 Years of Design Excellence; Will Play Key Role in Designs Aimed at Meeting Future Regulations

DETROIT, July 27, 2012 – The Auto/Steel Partnership – a consortium of North American steel companies and automotive manufacturers – is celebrating its 25 year anniversary this year. Since its inception in 1987, the unique Partnership has helped bring the automotive and North American steel industries together for continuous innovation, increasing the use of advanced high-strength steels (AHSS) in vehicles and addressing common issues in both industries.

The Auto/Steel Partnership’s projects have helped to increase the number of steel options that offer unique properties for affordability, lightweighting and strengthening of vehicle structures and closures, which contribute to improved fuel economy and reduced emissions.

“With new fuel economy and emissions regulations, it is necessary and appropriate that automakers evaluate different automotive designs,” Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO, AISI, said. “And our history has shown the trial of alternative materials typically result in parts being re-evaluated and returned to steel due to cost, performance or both.”

Past Auto/Steel Partnership project collaborations cover many important areas of vehicle development, including design of lightweight front-end structures, passenger compartments and closures. For example, the front lower control arm study has structural performance and weight equal to a world-class forged aluminum front lower control arm. The project team was able to do this and reduce the cost of the component by more than 30 percent.

Auto/Steel Partnership projects have also addressed important issues in the forming, joining and assembly of AHSS used in cars and trucks to support the rapid growth of these materials. Confirming work done by the Auto/Steel Partnership, researchers at Mega Associates found that steel usage remains constant at 58 to 62 percent of total vehicle content by weight over the last six years despite inter-material competition.

In addition, steelmakers around the world have collaborated on the FutureSteelVehicle program, engineered with international experts and WorldAutoSteel, which resulted in steel body structure designs that are on par weight-wise with aluminum at no cost penalty when compared to a traditional steel intensive design and significantly reduce emissions, while meeting anticipated safety requirements in 2020. Today, this program continues to offer new steel and manufacturing techniques to maximize use of AHSS toward meeting future vehicle regulations.

“Our customers are well aware of the automotive steel breakthroughs that offer low-cost and low-risk solutions to meet future CAFE and safety regulations, and they are also aware of the environmental penalties of substituting alternative materials for steel,” Gibson said. “Continued collaboration is the key to the success of the Auto/Steel Partnership and it will continue to effectively address the challenges that our industry faces over the next 25 years.”

Formed in 1987, the Auto/Steel Partnership is a consortium of SMDI’s Automotive Applications Committee, Chrysler Group, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. The Partnership leverages the resources of the automotive and steel industries to pursue research, validation and education that have helped automakers enhance vehicle safety and fuel economy and improve design and manufacturing.

Through the Auto/Steel Partnership, automakers and steel companies have worked to drive improvements from concept through realization in vehicles on the road today. For additional information, visit www.a-sp.org.

Auto/Steel Partnership members include:
• AK Steel Corporation
• ArcelorMittal Dofasco
• ArcelorMittal USA LLC
• Chrysler Group LLC
• Ford Motor Company
• General Motors Company
• Nucor Corporation
• Severstal North America Inc.
• ThyssenKrupp Steel USA, LLC
• United States Steel Corporation

Contact:
Nancy Gravatt
Vice President, Communications
American Iron and Steel Institute
Tel: 202.452.7115

Deanna Lorincz
Senior Director, Communications
Steel Market Development Institute
Tel: 248.945.4763

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