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Steel in Motor Vehicles--a 35-Year Perspective.

Weinberg J; Harris KL; White G
MISSING :15 pages
This Bureau of Mines report presents data on the changes in the use of steel in motor vehicles over the past 35 yr. Sources of supply of steel for the automotive sector have shifted from almost all domestic in the 1950's to about 50% domestic and 50% foreign in the 1980's. Downsizing, design changes, and substitution of lighter weight materials to achieve energy efficiency also contributed to the market loss of the domestic steel industry. Although plastics and aluminum have displaced some steel in motor vehicles over the years, heavy low-carbon steel is now being replaced most rapidly by lightweight high-strength steel. If the percent of domestic steel used in motor vehicles had not declined since 1950, domestic industry would have supplied 9.3 million more short tons of steel than it supplied in 1985. Downsizing and design changes accounted for 43% of the loss; steel imports, 32%; and substitution of plastics and aluminum, 25%. In 1985, the total value of market share lost by U.S. steel producers was $5.1 billion, of which $1.6 billion was lost to foreign steel producers and automobile manufacturers. Through aggressive marketing and increased efficiency, however, the domestic steel industry may be able to recapture some lost markets, as applications for high-strength steels expand, and as foreign-owned automotive plants in the United States provide fresh sales opportunities.
Publication Date
Document Type
IH; Information Circular;
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
IC 9175
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Page last reviewed: November 19, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division