ArcelorMittal Joins the Car Wars Battle, Unveils Ultralight Steel Alloy Truck Body

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ArcelorMittal said yesterday a new auto frame can cut the weight of a pickup chassis by almost a quarter, the latest step by the largest steelmaker to compete with aluminum for use in energy-efficient vehicles.

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The company’s new range of steel products for automakers can save as much as 384 pounds (174 kilograms), or 23 percent of the weight, of a pickup’s cab, box, frame and closures, it said yesterday. Such a reduction would ensure pickups meet European Union emission standards and similar rules being developed in the U.S., Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal said.

Steelmakers have increased their efforts to supply stronger, lighter metal to auto customers after Ford Motor Co. opted for an aluminum body for its F-150 pickup, its top-seller. New York-based Alcoa Inc. and Novelis Inc., the U.S. unit of India’s Hindalco Industries Ltd., are among aluminum producers adding capacity to supply car and truck bodies.

Competition between steel and aluminum “has intensified,” Lou Schorsch, ArcelorMittal’s chief executive officer for the Americas, said in an interview yesterday with Bloomberg News at the company’s jointly owned plant in Calvert, Alabama. “We give as good as we get.”

The cash price of primary aluminum saw the biggest decline of the day, dropping 2.5 percent on the LME to close at $1,958 per metric ton on Tuesday, September 16. The aluminum 3-month price saw a 2.2 percent decline on the LME to $2,000 per metric ton. The cash price of primary Indian aluminum fell 0.9 percent to INR 123.05 ($2.02) per kilogram.

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Chinese aluminum prices closed flat for the day. The price of Chinese aluminum scrap remained essentially flat at CNY 12,250 ($1,994) per metric ton. The price of Chinese aluminum billet was unchanged at CNY 13,590 ($2,213) per metric ton. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese aluminum bar held flat at CNY 14,200 ($2,312) per metric ton. The Chinese aluminum cash price continues hovering around CNY 13,960 ($2,273) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row.

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