The Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI) invites you to Detroit as we once again sponsor the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). This auto show season will be full of great new reveals, some of which we are anticipating here. One thing we know for sure is the next big thing in automotive has a very familiar name!
As you walk the floor at this year’s event something will become very clear: cars, trucks and SUVs depend on advanced high-strength steel (AHSS). In fact, AHSS is not only proven and trusted, it’s the fastest growing automotive material for four years running. AHSS delivers exactly what consumers and automakers need. No other material matches its performance, value and sustainability. Since the 1970’s, the number of automotive steel grades has grown from a few to more than 200 – and it’s not stopping there.
Accelerating innovation in the automotive industry, steel leads the way in performance as a result of its superior strength, lightweighting, durability and repairability. Today’s steels are as much as six times stronger than steels of a decade ago and three to four times stronger than the latest aluminum alloys on the market. Combining AHSS with evolving manufacturing processes enables engineers to apply thinner steels to produce lighter-weight parts, while maintaining or improving structural performance.
The repair industry infrastructure is steel-centric and is able to adapt shops, tools and train technicians to repair steel-intensive vehicles faster and at higher value than vehicles produced with alternative materials. What this means for the consumer is lower cost of ownership.
Additionally, steel enables aggressive exterior styling cues with its outstanding formability and enhances interior spaciousness with smaller structural sections.
Steel has the lowest greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions making it the sustainable choice for automakers. Compared to making steel, greenhouse gas emissions from making aluminum are significant and at least four times greater, even when aluminum is produced using mostly hydropower and substantially higher when aluminum is produced using fossil fuel-sourced electricity. It is critical to look beyond tailpipe emissions, and instead consider the full life cycle emissions of vehicles, specifically the emissions from materials production.
At the end of a vehicle’s life, steel still beats aluminum. Its physical properties allow products to be continuously recycled into any other steel products without loss of quality, saving vital resources for future generations.
So as you walk through the show floor at this year’s auto show, remember – only one material is Accelerating Innovation through increased performance, value and sustainability. You can follow the steel story during NAIAS on Twitter via #SteelMatters.