Automotive customers visit the heart of innovation
On 20 November 2014, ArcelorMittal opened the doors of its Research and Development centre in Montataire to its French automotive customers. Around 60 delegates from the major industry actors in the country, such as PSA, Renault, Toyota, Faurecia, Magna, SNOP, Volvo Trucks, C.L.N. and Gestamp, were present. The motto of the day was "Drive the future, drive steel!", a way to highlight the fact that by continuously reinventing itself, steel remains the material of choice for building ever safer and lighter cars.
Sedans, light commercial vehicles, pick-ups, trucks… Our advanced high strength steels allow impressive weight savings for any kind of vehicles. "After the C-segment cars, we applied our S-in motion programme to the light commercial vehicles, then to the electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles and finally to the pick-up trucks", said Jean-Luc Thirion, Global R&D Automotive Portfolio Leader during the conference session. "The development of fully engineered and validated solutions enables carmakers to get the best out of our steel grades".
On top of creating highly sophisticated steel grades, such as the new Fortiform® range of cold stamped steels, our researchers develop innovative applications that OEMS can immediately adopt for their vehicles. This is the case of the door ring solutions that Philippe Baudon, CEO of ArcelorMittal's Tailored Blanks division, presented to the audience and that is already in use in Honda's new Acura MDX.
As in any European countries, French car makers are under pressure to reduce CO2 emissions. For them, finding new ways to make their cars more environmentally friendly is a permanent challenge. The use of alternative materials might seem attractive at first sight but steel has unbeatable comparative advantages. "Steel is more energy efficient to produce than any other material and it can be indefinitely recycled, without loss of inherent properties. Furthermore, by producing locally, we decrease our carbon footprint", said Philippe Aubron, CMO Automotive Europe, before concluding: "ArcelorMittal steel makes innovation cost-effective while helping to protect the environment".
Innovative, affordable and available everywhere: that is what distinguishes ArcelorMittal steels from other options. "We offer car manufacturers the same high quality steel worldwide to produce affordable green cars everywhere", said Philippe Aubron after the presentation of ArcelorMittal's footprint in Europe by Wim Van Gerven, CEO ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products - Busines Division North. "Some of our competitors are very good but ArcelorMittal is the only steel maker to have mills on five continents", he concluded.
The conference session was followed by a networking lunch taking place in the R&D centre's atrium where some of the most inspired ground-breaking innovations ArcelorMittal put on the market are displayed. This was an excellent opportunity to exchange on the future of automotive and to foster the relationships between those who will make the cars of tomorrow and their suppliers.