Letter to the Editor: American Metal Market

September 20, 2013

Letter to the Editor - American Metal Market

Dear Editor,

In response to today’s article, “Aluminum Industry Girds for Auto Battle,” the steel industry would like to clarify several points.

Advanced high-strength steels (AHSS) – which offer weight reduction on par with aluminum and superior cost and environmental performance – are currently in production. In fact, AHSS make up nearly 15 percent of North American vehicles on the road today, are rapidly growing, and help automotive manufacturers meet mandated fuel economy requirements.

Not only do AHSS compete in applications with extruded aluminum, the steel industry is working with automakers to maximize their use of AHSS to find the most cost-effective solutions to meet new fuel economy (54.5 mpg by 2025) requirements. There are several examples of AHSS technologies that are ready for production or on the road today. One in particular is the front lower control arm (a suspension application) which is the same weight as the aluminum version at one-third less cost.

Best of all, the new steel designs achieve such weight and cost savings at a lower total lifecycle carbon footprint than if other lightweight materials are used. In addition, they can be implemented without substantial stamping plant or body shop investment compared to the more radical changes needed to use other materials.

Sincerely,

Lawrence Kavanagh
President, Steel Market Development Institute