SMDI: Steel remains king in automotive supply chain


Advances in steel aimed at reducing vehicles’ average weights and improving their fuel economies will not materially change steel’s path through the supply chain, says Steel Market Development Institute president Lawrence Kavanagh.

Kavanagh says efforts to use more advanced high-strength steels in automobiles won’t keep those cars out of the scrap pipeline longer than the current average of 12 years. He put forward this view during a conference call with journalists hosted by SMDI’s parent organisation the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Mechanical components will continue to fail long before steel auto bodies do, he says.

“Vehicles last a long time because they’re steel,” he tells Kallanish.

Moreover, he says, the institute is seeing the use of advanced high-strength steels grow while alternate materials, like aluminium, merely tread water.

“There continues to be no evidence of a shift in alternate material-intensive vehicles,” he says.