New report predicts short-lived gains for aluminum before AHSS takes over


Detroit, Michigan — October 6, 2014 — World Steel Dynamics (WSD) has concluded that steel can easily deliver the weight savings required to meet mandated fuel economy targets for most vehicles, without the need for a wholesale switch to aluminum. The findings are in WSD’s report AutoBody Warfare: Aluminum Attack, based on the company’s independent consultation with steel, aluminum and automotive experts. The report is formally being presented to steel executives on October 6 at the worldsteel Annual Conference in Moscow.

“This timely analysis demonstrates the value of advanced high-strength steel designs in meeting the needs of automakers while exposing the cost penalties of switching to aluminum,” says Lawrence W. Kavanagh, president of the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI). “We are enthusiastic about the findings, which confirm our extensive research showing automakers can meet their weight reduction goals with advanced high-strength steels. The report’s conclusions, and forecast for steel, are good news for customers and consumers as they demonstrate that automakers can and will continue to depend on the performance of steel and the safety, fuel efficiency and sustainability it provides.”

Other key findings of the WSD study include:

– Advanced high-strength steels will offer more than sufficient lightweighting opportunities to automotive companies in the next decade, and from 2021-2025, automotive designers will be implementing an array of higher-strength steels;
– Once engineers decide to redesign steel-intensive vehicles from the ground up, they will implement sizable and relatively low-cost weight savings with advanced high-strength steels, enabling continued supply of steel closures;
– Advanced high-strength steels, even if priced substantially higher than other auto sheet, are quite attractive given their weight savings relative to aluminum, and will rise to 23.7 million tonnes in 2025, a 330 percent gain displacing mild steel and alternative materials; and,
– Automakers will not widely adopt aluminum or other alternative materials during their next round of design, and the growth in aluminum sheet in cars, SUVs and light trucks will peak about 2018.

A summary of the report can be found at autosteel.org.


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