U.S. Steel Says Industry Will Pitch Safety to Consumers

U.S. Steel Corp., the country’s largest producer by volume, said the steel industry will emphasize safety to consumers as it tries to fend off use of alternative materials in the automotive industry.

“There are certain attributes -- particularly on safety -- that would resonate with consumers and individuals,” Chief Executive Officer John Surma told reporters today after a speech to the Automotive Press Association in Detroit. “We’re trying to take our communications up a notch.”

Automakers are looking to materials such as high-strength steel, aluminum and magnesium to reduce vehicle weight and cut fuel consumption to help meet stricter U.S. rules. North American automakers may triple their use of stronger, thinner steel by 2025 to increase fuel efficiency, according to the Steel Market Development Institute, an industry lobbying group.

Vehicles made in North America will contain an average of as much as 585 pounds (265 kilograms) of so-called advanced high-strength steel in 2025, the Washington D.C.-based business unit of the American Iron & Steel Institute said this month.

The use of the lighter, stronger steels will keep the total portion of steel used in cars unchanged, the institute predicts. Steel makes up about 58 percent to 60 percent of a vehicle’s weight.

The steel lobby’s outlook differs from its counterparts representing other materials such as the Aluminum Association. Automakers may increase their use of aluminum to 550 pounds per vehicle in 2025 from 327 pounds in 2009, according to a study released by the group in September 2011.

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