5 Things to Know When Buying your Next Vehicle

According to a study by TrueCar, fall and winter are the best times to buy a new car as dealers are trying to clear their inventory of older models before the new ones arrive. If you’re planning to take advantage of these hot deals, consider these five tips before buying your next set of wheels.

image-1-edmunds
Source: Edmunds.com

1. To buy or not to buy? That is the question. Whether you buy or lease your car, it’s a big decision. Do you prefer to own your wheels or do you like to get a new one after just a few years? Check out this Pros and Cons of Leasing vs. Buying a Car list to see what’s right for you.

2. Will you get the most bang for your buck? Since your new car payment is typically one of the biggest ticket items in your monthly bills, you’ll want to figure out what you can afford. To help stick to your budget, CNN Money offers several great tips and things to consider in determining your car budget.

image-2-flickrSource: Flickr

3. Who will use your car? Whether you buy a vehicle for you, your spouse and children or you and your pet, you need to decide which option is right for you. Your car-shopping check-list may consist of a family friendly vehicle. Take a look at this list of best family friendly vehicles for 2016 for ideas.

image-3-ecumenical-newsSource: Ecumenical News

4. How can your new vehicle help the environment? When you chose a steel-intensive vehicle, you make a sound choice for you, your family and the environment. Steel helps keep vehicles lightweight using less gas, has the lowest emissions during the production phase compared to alternative materials and also is completely recyclable – making steel the environmentally sound choice.

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5. What features are sleek and stylish? While looks aren’t everything, a car’s appearance is important when deciding what to drive for the next 3 to 5 years. Automakers are redesigning their models every year bringing the hottest new technologies and sleek designs to market. No matter what catches your fancy, a steel vehicle has all the glitz and glam of a new car without making any compromises to the environment. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Anything we missed? Share your thoughts about what to keep in mind when car shopping in the comments below.

 

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Celebrate Stars and Stripes, Celebrate Steel

Steel is present in almost everything we encounter every day. It is a critical component of the appliances in our kitchens, the cans that store our food, the buildings we work in, the roads and bridges we drive on and the cars and trucks we drive in. Steel also makes up a major industry of workers in the United States and globally.

This Labor Day weekend, we commemorate all the workers who are the backbone of our great country. Demonstrated by their hard work and dedication, laborers are the strength and longevity of the United States.

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Through its predecessor organizations, the American Iron and Steel Institute’s history spans more than 150 years. As steel manufacturers, researchers and consumers, we also celebrate the many jobs the steel industry has created and our products made in America.

NucorSource: Nucor Corporation

The North American steel industry employs top notch men and women of many diverse backgrounds and disciplines—the best and the brightest talent—to build a sustainable future. The steel industry directly employs about 142,000 people in the United States, and directly or indirectly supports almost one million U.S. jobs.

As the backbone of manufacturing, steel is a strategic industry essential to America’s economic growth and stability. We are constantly innovating and exploring new ways to make steel which keeps our industry one of the world’s most competitive, sustainable and environmentally progressive industries.

Steel PlantSource: Flickr

We thank all the workers who create continuous opportunities and contribute to design products made in America. We salute you! What American-made products do you celebrate? Who would you like to thank for their hard work? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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Steel Vehicle Summer Wrap Up

Yes, we’re asking the same question, “Where did summer go?!” It always seems to take a long time for the season to arrive and goes by way too fast once it’s here. Luckily, there are still a few weeks left and we have the perfect steel vehicles to get you through your end-of-summer activities.

The Dream Cruise

Each year, on the third Saturday in August, more than 1 million people gather on the legendary 16-mile stretch of Woodward Avenue, in Southeast Michigan, to celebrate classic car culture at the Woodward Dream Cruise. Whether you’re watching vehicles pass as they cruise, or taking a peek inside one of the classics parked along the roadway, you’ve seen examples of how steel has influenced design over the decades. We have a hard time picking just one vehicle to highlight out of the long list of remarkable steel vehicles during this car-enthusiast gathering. Instead, we leave it to AutoGuide to share the coolest steel vehicles of last year’s Dream Cruise – most of which used steel for greater flexibility and performance to make designers’ and engineers’ visions come to life.

steel vehicle wrap up image 1Source: AutoGuide

College Move-In

Heading off (back) to college might be one of the most bittersweet moments for both parents and students. While it’s exciting for young adults to start a new adventure, its’ not easy to do without the help and support of their parents. Meanwhile, parents need another type of support. They need a reliable vehicle to help them make it through the journey. Our steel vehicle recommendation? A steel-intensive minivan to help you reach your teenager’s destination. Roomy enough to load up and reliable enough to get you there, a steel minivan is great for college move-ins.

steel wrap up image 2Source:  http://ow.ly/zR7i303mHOx

Off-Roading Adventure

We know the summer can get busy and your adventures get pushed to the side. Make time to hit the dirt and take an off-roading adventure. Our trip last October for the State Fair of Texas gave us insight on what pickups rock in the mud! Be sure to let us know where your favorite off-roading sites are located.

steel vehicle wrap up image 3.jpgSource: www.trucktrend.com

No matter what your final summer activities, whether it’s taking your kids to college, towing your boat home for winter storage or enjoying tailgating adventures, a steel vehicle is a vehicle of style, durability and reliability. How are you spending the last few weeks of summer? Be sure to let us know in the comment section below!

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Steel in Olympic Athletes

Cue the trumpets … now, cue the drums … here we go! The Rio 2016 Summer Olympics kick off tomorrow and boy are we excited. Every four years, we watch the long-awaited events, the summer sports, games and spectacles all while rooting for our favorites. Whether you cheer one athlete or another, there is no denying we can see steel in Olympic athletes. Perhaps it’s the athlete’s strength or the player’s discipline where you see resemblance to steel. One thing is certain though, steel in Olympic athletes gives them the ability to win any competition.

steel in olympic athletes image 1.jpg
Source:  Alistair Ross Flickr

Strength – Weightlifting was part of the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. Modern steels are four to five times stronger than other commercially available automotive metals. In fact, some aluminum grades only meet the strength of steel grades introduced in the 1980s. Other materials have a lot of training in their future to catch up to steel!

steel in olympic athletes image 2

Endurance – In a race to the finish, steel is similar to the fastest runner in the Olympic Games. Steel crosses the finish line first and is more durable than other materials. Steel has a variety of grades, including advanced high-strength steel (AHSS), which allows automakers to chose the right one for durability within the vehicle. AHSS receives our medal for this event!

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Source:  William Warby Flickr

Formability (Stretch) – Like an Olympic athlete steadily performing on the balance beam, steel has something in common with gymnastics. Steel is more formable and ductile than other materials. Steel’s formability increases the design possibilities and allows the designer to take styling to new heights.

Discipline – True athletes must take the utmost care of their bodies with years of training to prepare for the Olympic Games.  In this same sense, steel takes care of the environment by generating the fewest CO2 emissions of any automotive lightweighting material during production.

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Wow! The steel in Olympic athletes really shines through. It’s hard for us to pick a favorite because so many possess these steel characteristics, so we cheer for them all! Which event is your favorite and which steel quality do the Olympic athletes hold? Let us know in the comments below.

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More Reasons to Stick with Steel

Whether you are a first-time car buyer or a seasoned car shopper, choosing a new vehicle is not always easy. While there are so many vehicles to choose from and most steel-intensive, here are a few of our favorites giving consumers more reasons to stick with steel.

Two is Better Than One

The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse are truly a match made in car heaven! Together, they boast stronger, longer, stiffer and lighter body structures at about 100 pounds lighter than the previous generation – helping you save money at the pump! GM uses 73% high-strength and advanced high-strength steel in the LaCrosse, helping it shed nearly 300 pounds from its curb weight. This new platform uses more AHSS and UHSS than its predecessor and features new manufacturing solutions.

Buick.jpg

Packed with Power

The 2016 Nissan Titan XD features a high-strength steel, fully boxed, and full-length ladder frame. Every component in the vehicle has been bolstered and strengthened for added stiffness, vertical and lateral bending, as well as torsional rigidity. This accommodates more towing for your summer vacation cargo and a heavier payload, adding to the list of why we love trucks.

Nissan Titan 

Safety First!

The 2016 Honda Civic uses 58% high-strength steel to increase size and stiffness, helping it achieve industry-leading safety ratings. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Civic rates 5 stars for frontal crash, side crash, and rollover. With all these accomplishments, no wonder why this car has been named 2016 North American Car of the Year.

Honda Civic

So, when looking at the possibility of a new vehicle, keep these makes and models in mind.

Think about the lightweighting, strength, and environmental benefits, but most importantly think of the endless benefits to sticking with steel.

Did we miss one of your favorite steel-intensive vehicles? Share your favorites below.

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Salute to American Steel

Since ancient times, steel has played a vital role in our everyday lives. Steel contains the 26th element on the periodic table, iron. It’s morphed into the backbone of the United States and steel can be found everywhere, from soup can packaging to the car you drive.

Man of Steel
 Source:  SITS Girls Flickr

Steel has shaped American culture in many ways even becoming part of the Superman obsession by making its way into the Man of Steel movie released by Warner Brothers in 2013 and the sequel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, released earlier this year. Steel has also tapped into America’s favorite sport by influencing the logo of the NFL team the Pittsburgh Steelers. The logo uses the American Iron and Steel Institute’s (AISI) design. It includes three hypocycloids representing the different materials used to produce steel. Yellow symbolizes coal, orange represents ore, and blue signifies scrap steel. The organization even petitioned AISI to change the name inside the logo from Steel to Steelers and is now showcased on the player’s helmets during games.

Steel Steelers

Source: steelers.com/history/logo-history.html

Steel isn’t going away – it’s evolving. Used in 1833 to help build the first skyscraper, the steel industry has developed new, higher grades of steel that use 3% less than 20 years ago helping to contribute to sustainability. Steel even played a vital role in the building of the Golden Gate Bridge in California. If it was built today instead of when construction started in 1933, only half of the 83,000 tons of steel used would be needed now.


More that half of the types of steels present in today’s vehicles didn’t exist 10 years ago and with breakthrough technologies and industry innovations, steel remains the leading material of choice across the board.

What do you know about steel? Test your knowledge with this interactive quiz courtesy of Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International http://app.snapapp.com/AHSSvideo.

SAE Screenshot.png

 

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Give Thanks to our First Responders

According to National Safety Council (NSC), June is National Safety Month! What better way to celebrate the month than to give thanks to those who keep us safe: the first responders. What would we do without the heroes who come to our rescue when we are involved in an accident?

Truck at Fire
Source: McKinney Texas Fire Department

As automotive engineers implement advanced steels into vehicles to meet increasing safety and fuel economy standards, it’s important to remember the first responders who are encountering these new structures made of advanced high-strength steel (AHSS). To support our rescuers, we’ve developed ways to help them understand, prepare, and be equipped to cut through these new, stronger steel grades.

We are committed to educating first responders on how to efficiently do their job of saving lives when confronted with these new steel grades. This involves raising awareness of new rescue techniques and tools, such as high-power versions of the hydraulic shears required to cut through AHSS found in today’s vehicles.

To help raise awareness and to gain insight of how we can be help inform first responders, we’ve worked with Ron Moore, a retired battalion chief and training officer for the McKinney Texas Fire Department, and an expert in extrication techniques. Ron conducts countless hours of research and works to educate first responders and firefighters properly on how to work with AHSS in a time-critical manner. His dedication to educating and preparing rescuers was also why we saw fit to present him with our 2015 Man of Steel Award and our Community Hero Award at the North American International Auto Show.

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To educate first responders, Moore trained personnel from the Livonia, Michigan Fire Department through an extrication demonstration taped at our Great Designs in Steel seminar. State Farm® donated a 2011 Nissan Altima featuring AHSS for the event. Rescue workers removed the driver and passenger doors, as well as the roof, using the new, higher-powered equipment.

New advanced steels help automakers design stronger, more “crashworthy” vehicles. When first responders are preforming their jobs, it’s imperative they are prepared to do this most efficiently. We’re proud to work together with first responders to meet these new challenges. Don’t forget to share your love for your local rescuers in the comment section below!

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Summer Driving Tips

It’s summer time and we’re just as ready as you are to pack our bags and hit the open highway! Whether it’s driving up the California coast, or driving to taste the freshest seafood in the Northeast, we need to make sure our vehicle is locked and loaded to make the trip. Check out some of our summer driving tips to make sure you’re ready for your road-trip adventures:

Route 66

Don’t let it feel too ‘hot hot hot’

High temperatures may cause overheating and great damage to some of your vehicle’s cooling systems like a leaking hose or low coolant levels. Be sure to check out your coolant reservoir level regularly and double check your fan is working before you hit the road.

‘Let the good times roll’

In order to do so, you need to make sure your tire pressure is at the recommended level for your car. Summer temperatures worsen existing damage to your tires and under-inflation of tires causes even more heat, which can cause punctures and blowouts. Just one under-inflated tire can increase fuel consumption. Not to mention, a flat tire can take away some time saved for summer fun!

Shed some weight

No, you don’t need to shed weight, but your trunk probably does! Pack light for your trip. Carrying extra pounds could set you back in terms of miles per gallon. Get to your destination and then purchase your groceries or charcoal for the grill!

‘Baby you’re a song, you make me want to roll my windows down and cruise…control’

Using that special button and maintaining consistent speeds over a long distance can give your feet a break, save on gas, and help you avoid speeding tickets!

Green grass, green leaves, green car

Cars and trucks built with advanced high-strength steels weigh up to 29% less, which means significantly reducing emissions and greater fuel economy without losing strength, durability, or safety. It also saves a little green in your wallet to use for that summer excursion.

So, whether it’s traveling west on Route 66, or making your way up North, be sure to try these tips to make your road trip safe and fun!

Not sure where to head this summer? Check out the Summer of Steel Roadtrip we took last summer! We’re positive it’ll strike up some ideas for where to spend your fun in the sun.

Map

Be sure to let us know where the road takes you this summer in the comment section!

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Celebrating 15 Years of Great Designs in Steel

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Steel Market Development Institute’s Great Designs in Steel (GDIS) seminar.

GDIS 15

As we look to the future, it’s important to look back on where we’ve been. The SMDI Automotive Applications Council had a vision of a seminar to bring automotive engineers together to look at the latest designs using the latest steel grades.  In 2002 the first GDIS seminar was held to roll-out the Ultralight Steel Auto Body (ULSAB-AVC) program.  At that time advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) was new and engineers were just starting to use it in design.

Over the years there have been a total of 500 presentations representing 350 companies. These presentations represent 45 great designs of body-in-whites. In addition to all of the great presentations, the program has always included a great exhibit hall featuring body-in-white vehicles featured in the presentations and color coded to illustrate the steel grades making up the great designs.

Not to be outdone by the product engineers, the program has also always included manufacturing presentations to support implementation of these great designs into production. There have been presentations on topics from stamping to welding to modeling to tooling to new processes.

The manufacturing process is so important that the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association became a partner in 2012 year with mini-workshops focusing specifically on laser technology in the auto industry.

And of course we couldn’t do any of this without our partners. Attendance at the events quickly grew to the capacity of the building starting at 545 registrants in 2002 to 1,700+ registrants in 2016.

GDIS Attendance

GDIS is now the longest running automotive materials focused seminar in the world.

Jody Hall, Vice President, Automotive Market, kicked off this year’s seminar with a fun video to highlight the past 15 years of GDIS:

Our President, Lawrence Kavanagh presented this year’s Automotive Excellence Award to Honda R & D Americas, Inc. and Gestamp for their work in implementing AHSS innovations in a hot stamped rear frame.

Automotive Excellence Award

From left: Roger Newport, AK Steel, Jody Hall, SMDI, Kou Khang, Gestamp, Shawn Crichley, Honda, Lawrence Kavanagh, SMDI

Following the award, we gathered some thoughts from our partners throughout the years:

What was your favorite part of GDIS?

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Mother’s Day Feature: The Triple Threat Woman

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, we couldn’t think of any other way to celebrate women in the steel and automotive industries than by featuring one of our own. Why triple threat? She’s got all the qualities to make for a super woman in the steel and auto industries! She’s a metallurgical engineer, a leader in the Association of Women in the Metal Industries (AWMI) and, the hardest job of all, a mother to four children. We celebrate Jackie Stachowski – our Triple Threat Woman.

Stachowski Headshot

With 25 years under her belt, Jackie has found herself in various positions within the industry including her current role as district sales manager for Nucor Steel Automotive Group. Did I say sales? Yes. A sales opportunity at Nucor working on the General Motors’ account arose and as technical lead for the account for nine years, Jackie was the perfect fit for the job. The change from technical to sales has been extremely enjoyable for Jackie. The varying schedule and new tasks to accomplish each day creates an environment to grow at her own pace.

“I’ve had a long history with both Nucor and GM, so the transition was natural,” Jackie said. “I’m grateful for my engineering background, but I’m excited to learn more about sales and the business side of the industry, so this opportunity was perfect.”

It’s hard for many to forge a career path at a young age, but Jackie beat those odds. A family friend who was at Michigan Tech knew her strengths in math and science, and pushed her to consider engineering while she was in high school.

“He was a big advocate for the Michigan Tech program,” Jackie said.” It really helped spark my interest in engineering and I began planning for my career starting then.”

She attended Michigan Tech for Metallurgical Engineering and co/op’ed with LTV Steel. She was hired at LTV in 1994 as a metallurgical engineer in the Quality Assurance department.  Later, she worked as a contract engineer and for GM until starting Nucor as a technical service metallurgist in 2007.

As with anyone, a successful career is hard to get through without the mentorship and advice from others, whether they are in the profession, a friend, or family. What is extremely admirable about Jackie is she tries to learn from everyone she meets. For example, she mentioned our very own Dr. Jody Hall when it comes to a leader she tries to embody.

“I haven’t worked enough with Jody to consider her a mentor, but she has had a great impact on my career,” Jackie said. “Jody is easy to learn from, and the way she leads, communicates and presents herself is what I take from her each time I’m in her presence.”

Jackie did mention a few people who have mentored her throughout her career: Eric Gallo, Rich Cover, and Ron Pile. These professionals all played key roles throughout her career history, advocating for her and teaching her new ways of thinking and approaching situations.

“Jackie and I have worked together in multiple companies and organizations over the years,” said Cover, president of Richard J. Cover & Associates, LLC.  “She has broad knowledge of the metals industry and has always excelled, no matter the newness or complexity of the challenge. Jackie focuses on customer satisfaction, performance and team building and brings a great effort and energy to every situation. I have always encouraged her to reach high, knowing she is surely capable.”

Jackie also reminisced on her parents’ influence over her and attributes her strong work ethic to her mom and dad. She also tries to instill these learned values to her family. The wife to a consulting engineer and the mother to four engineers (some hopefully-to-be), Jackie believes she and her husband have both had influence on her oldest becoming an engineer at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the other three working for the same career.

“The kids have seen different career paths you are able to take with engineering and how happy I am with what I do, and the long-term benefits of the career,” Jackie said. “I believe it was a great influence on the kids’ desire to also want to become engineers.”

As a family, the Stachowski’s love to take trips, sometimes centered on career fairs as Jackie is also a recruiter, to Michigan Tech up in Houghton, Michigan. They also love to participate in community races and 5Ks as a family in their spare time. Scrap booking is also Jackie’s personal hobby when she isn’t busy working, or being a mom.

Stachowski Family Picture

As if Jackie doesn’t have enough to balance, she is also currently vice president of AWMI’s Detroit Chapter. The organization is important for Jackie as she looks for growth in leadership. A proud woman in the metals industry, she uses AWMI as a tool to improve herself. Why wouldn’t she, as she loves being part of an organization where people want to see you grow and succeed.

Metals Panel team

We could think of many ways to celebrate Jackie, her 25 years in the industry and her endearing home life, but we believe it to be said best by her fellow co-worker and great friend Dean Kanelos, market development & product applications manager for Nucor Steel Automotive Group.

“Jackie is a very capable engineer with great social skills, and when she manages a project, event or issue, you know the details will be taken care of,” said Kanelos. “Working relationships are important to her, which is why she is well liked and trusted by her customers, peers and business associates.  She continuously strives to improve herself and become more knowledgeable.  If I want to bounce something off her for input, I always get a candid, helpful response.  Jackie has a close-knit family with four children – she definitely has learned to juggle a career and family life well.”

Happy Mother’s Day and cheers to your 25 years, Jackie Stachowski! You will always remain our Triple Threat Woman.

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