Changsha, June 20, 2019 – VAMA, a joint venture between ArcelorMittal and Chinese steelmaker Valin, began production of steels for the automotive industry in 2014. To celebrate its fifth anniversary, VAMA hosted a customer day event with the theme ‘Explore New Solutions, Win the Future’. During the event, VAMA also showcased ArcelorMittal’s cutting-edge innovations for the automotive industry including new high-performance steel grades and S-in motion® solutions which can be used to lightweight the battery packs of electric vehicles (EVs).
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.
Achieving collaboration and breakthroughs in a time of change
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.”
New study points to dramatic shifts by 2025
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.”
Downstream solutions also featured
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