Automakers are increasingly relying on advanced high-strength steel structures to improve the safety of their vehicles. Over 65 2019 model year vehicles that debuted in 2018 from automakers across the industry were composed of an advanced high-strength steel structure, according to the Steel Market Development Institute.
In fact, in a survey conducted earlier this year by the institute, 90% of consumers said they believe steel is stronger than other materials used by automakers. Moreover, 75% said safety was the most important factor when buying or leasing a vehicle.
Safety concerns appear to be driving the preference for steel. Using high-strength grades of steel in key vehicle areas like the frame and body translates into greater durability and ultimately, improved occupant protection, according to institute.
For 2019 models introduced in 2018, advanced high-strength steel was represented in the composition of vehicles across every segment and size, including the SUV, CUV and truck markets.
For example, in the car category, the 2019 Kia Forte is composed of 54% advanced high-strength steel and the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta features 35% ultra-high-strength hot-formed steel, 12% ultra-high-strength steel and 39% extra high-strength steel. The 2020 Toyota Corolla boasts a 60% improvement in torsional rigidity as compared to its predecessor thanks to the increased use of ultra-high-tensile steel, according to the automaker.
Sport utility vehicles such as the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe and the 2019 Acura RDX also relied on steel for added strength and safety. These vehicle bodies are composed of 67% and 50% high-strength steel, respectively.
In the truck category, 99% of the steel used in the frame of the 2019 Ram 1500 is high-strength — making the 2019 Ram 1500 the strongest ever. The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 features a high-strength steel bed floor and 80% of the frame is composed of the same material — making it 88 pounds lighter while offering 10% greater torsional rigidity than its predecessor.
Other vehicles that use high-strength steel for improved quality and enhanced crash safety include the 2019 Jeep Cherokee, the 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class, and the 2019 Subaru Forester, to name a few.