US Steel CEO denies reports according to which steel is no longer the main automotive material.

“Steel is an incredibly green material. Steel can be recycled continuously without affecting its key performance attributes,” said CEO John Surma, speaking to the Automotive Press Association luncheon in Detroit.

Automakers rely more on lighter materials such as magnesium and aluminum to reach the US fuel economy goal of 54.5 m.p.g. by 2025. If a vehicle’s mass is reduced by 10%, fuel economy is improved by 3% to 4%, therefore the future of steel is threatened as it still represents 60% of an average vehicle weight.

But Surma is optimistic as steel costs less than aluminum and other lighter materials and industry has already developed the lighter-weight, high-strength steel, which helps automakers reduce mass and boost fuel economy. It’s been decades since steel and aluminum have begun this intense competition, and Surma doubts reports that lighter materials will replace steel.

“I didn’t happen then. It will not happen now,” Surma said. “Now as an industry we are continuing our research on the third generation of high-strength steels.”

A recent study by Ducker Worldwide shows that by 2016 US automakers will add 375 pounds of aluminum into the average car and by 2025 aluminum will account for 16% of a vehicle’s weight.


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