Nissan to adopt 1.2GPa steel for all new models from 2017
Nissan Motor plans to massively expand the use of advanced high tensile strength steel, a move that could give a considerable boost to Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp (NSSMC) and Kobe Steel.
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The carmaker said that it aims to use the steel in the production of up to 25% of all vehicle parts installed in its new production models from 2017.
Nissan developed the 1.2 gigapascal ultra high strength steel in conjunction with the two Japanese steelmakers and currently uses it in the production of the new Infiniti Q50, which goes on sale in North America this year.
Nissan has said that it aims to capture 8% of the global car market by 2017.
“High-tensile is the future and clearly Nissan adopting it is good news for us,” an NSSMC official said.
“Either we will produce it here and ship it to their plants around the world, or we will licence out the technology for other steelmakers to produce it for Nissan,” the official said, adding that the steelmaker hopes to expand its high-tensile steel customer base to other carmakers.
Nissan says the new steel provides greater elongation, and offers strength and high formability, to make lighter-weight steel sheets.
These attributes enable it to be used for parts with complex shapes, which had been difficult to manufacture using established high-tensile steels. Combined with high-precision die design and a welding process suitable for materials during the production process, it can now be applied to the production of more vehicle parts.
In addition, employing the steel leads to fewer materials used per vehicle produced, and existing production lines can be used without a big modification. This results in a reduction in total cost per unit.