Luxury vehicles were the focus during media preview days of the New York International Auto Show last week. And while luxury vehicles often feature exotic materials like carbon fiber and aluminum, the story of the week was the use of advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) in new mainstream sedans and crossovers, like the Chevrolet Malibu and the Nissan Maxima among others. These vehicles use AHSS to cut weight and increase performance.
- The 2016 Nissan Maxima’s redesigned platform extensively uses high-strength steel – including the first use of 1.2GPa high-strength steel in a Nissan sedan – to cut 82 pounds while increasing torsional rigidity by 25 percent over previous models.
- The 2016 Chevy Malibu’s greater use of high-strength steels enabled engineers to design the body structure with thinner components in some areas, delivering comparable crash performance with lower weight. The all-new body structure accounts for more than one-third of the Malibu’s nearly 300-pound weight reduction. The lighter body structure contributes to better driving dynamics along with fuel economy.
- The 2016 Kia Optima increased its use of high-strength automotive steel by 150 percent over its previous model, making the widened and lengthened vehicle stiffer and more durable than ever before. More than half of the Optima’s new body is now high-strength automotive steel.
- The 2016 Hyundai Tucson crossover increased its use of AHSS in its chassis from 18 to more than 50 percent, while also making its body stiffer and lighter through increased use of high-strength steel. The Tucson’s enhanced crash safety measures also take advantage of multiple grades of high-strength steel throughout the body and structural components, assembled through sophisticated laser welding and stamping processes to achieve optimal stiffness-to-weight ratios.
What’s the link between these vehicles? They all use AHSS to simultaneously deliver improved performance and reduced weight, and to do so for high-volume, competitively-priced passenger car and crossover segments critical to automaker success.
Automakers also announced new platforms that will underpin multiple vehicles in their lineups. These new long-term programs have an increased use of AHSS to meet both current and future consumer and regulatory demands.
Did you make it to the show or follow along with the press debuts? What was your favorite debut?