The customer day was attended by over 300 leaders from the automotive industry including OEMs and Tier-1 suppliers. Also in attendance were leaders of the joint venture partners including Cao Zhiqiang, chairman of Valin Group; Brian Aranha, executive vice-president of ArcelorMittal with responsibility for Global Automotive and Global R&D; Cheng Peixiang, Chairman of VAMA; and Sanjay Sharma, vice-president and CEO of ArcelorMittal for China and India.
During the event, participants discussed the changes that are taking place in China’s automotive manufacturing industry and ways to achieve collaboration and technical breakthroughs at this time. Delegates heard that, after a rapid period of growth, the Chinese automotive market is maturing. Customers are seeking environmentally friendly mobility solutions which include the latest technologies. This demand must be balanced against regulatory policies which are expected to become more stringent and may totally reshape China’s automotive industry.
Fernando Teixeira, CEO of VAMA noted that the automotive industry in China is experiencing a downturn in growth, but that there is still considerable space for the market to grow. “Steel for the automotive manufacturing sector is constantly changing, steel grades used in a car today are not comparable to the steels used a decade ago. Over the next five years, VAMA will remain dedicated to introducing technical innovation to the Chinese automotive industry. That means bringing in more high-quality products and solutions – benefeting from ArcelorMittal’s knowhow and global resources – to support the development of the local automotive sector and ensuring VAMA remains a reliable partner for Chinese carmakers.”
VAMA also used the event to release a new study prepared with LMC Automotive, a leading forecasting and market intelligence provider for the Chinese industry. Titled ‘China's Passenger Vehicles in 2025: Policies and Regulations Will Completely Reshape the Market’, the study found that the Chinese passenger vehicle market is likely to have the strictest standards in the world by 2025. However, this is an opportunity for carmakers. “The fact that people are replacing their old vehicles with new ones which meet the higher emission standards in force today will inevitably create significant demand,” noted John Zeng, director of China Forecasting for LMC Automotive. “This will continue to stimulate production and sales of new vehicles.”
Yang Zheng, director of VAMA’s Technical Service Department introduced delegates to VAMA's newest high-performance steel products which are at the forefront of automotive innovation. They include advanced high strength steels (AHSS) such as Usibor®, MartINsite® and Fortiform®, and coatings such as Ultragal® and Zagnelis®. “Over the past five years, VAMA has exceeded the expectations of OEMs again and again with new steel grades and solutions,” said Yang Zheng. “These new products address the challenges OEMs are facing in China and the global automotive market. As the representative of ArcelorMittal in China, VAMA will continue to drive the localization of advanced new steels and supply high-quality products to China’s automakers. Our aim is to become a reliable partner in the sustainable development of China’s auto industry.”
GONVVAMA, a downstream partner of VAMA, also showcased the progress it has made in the production of complex, hot-stamped laser welded blanks (LWBs). “LWB technology ensures the right steel, in the right thickness, is in the right place for safety and performance,” noted Yannick Yin, chief technical officer for GONVVAMA. “The crash behavior of LWB parts can be finely tailored to ensure maximum weight savings while enhancing safety. To make those advanced steel solutions more affordable for our customers, we optimized costs by co-engineering with our customers. That has allowed us to innovate and find new ways to reduce costs, maximize weight savings, and improve material utilization. An example is the single-piece hot-stamped door ring that we have now also introduced in China.”
Participants inspecting some of the latest technological advances
VAMA produces some of the most advanced steels for most parts of the vehicle
Founded in 2012, Valin ArcelorMittal Automotive Steel Co., Ltd. (VAMA) is a joint venture between Hunan Valin Steel Co., Ltd. and ArcelorMittal. After a two-year ramp-up, VAMA began local production of automotive steels in 2014.
As the world’s leading supplier of comprehensive automotive steels and solutions, VAMA utilizes the most advanced technologies to produce automotive solutions. All types of automotive steels are produced by VAMA including mild steel, Dual Phase, and advanced and ultra high strength steels (AHSS and UHSS) such as Ductibor® 1000 and Usibor® 2000.
With its advanced lightweight products and solutions, VAMA is committed to supporting China’s automotive industry and helping carmakers produce lighter, safer, greener, and more affordable vehicles.
GONVVAMA is a joint-venture between VAMA and Gonvarri. Gonvarri is a worldwide leader for advance processing with a top of the art network of SSC’s focused to automotive as it is recognized by all International OEM’s as an expert on exposed panels in both steel as well as aluminum and as the most advanced specialist for advanced high strength steel (AHSS) and very high strength steel (VHSS). This knowhow will serve the Chinese market from 2017.
ArcelorMittal has already brought its unique technology to VAMA to produce press hardening automotive steel Usibor® and Ductibor®, which are already available on the Chinese market. Now, ArcelorMittal is bringing its unique tailored welding technologies, both knowhow and licenses via ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks.