Steel Products

U.S. Steel Optimistic on Gaining Automotive Market Share

Written by Laura Miller

U.S. Steel is bullish on the automotive market and believes it is well positioned to continue gaining market share in that important steel-consuming sector.

 US SteelAuto OEMs desire to have their advanced high-strength (AHSS) and automotive-grade steels produced more sustainably, said Kevin Lewis, U.S. Steel’s VP of finance, speaking on the company’s first-quarter earnings conference call with analysts on Friday, April 28.

The steelmaker is now in a very unique position in the broader domestic market, he said, to offer exposed automotive and AHSS grades from its integrated mills combined with lower carbon-intense steels from its Big River Steel (BRS) mini-mill. Additionally, it will soon be able to supply non-grain oriented (NGO) electrical steels from its new line at BRS.

“So if you think about the breadth of the automotive portfolio that we are building, in the diversity from a steel production perspective that we have going forward, we believe we’re in a tremendously good position to continue to earn automotive market share and push the value-added mix at Big River higher,” Lewis noted.

U.S. Steel’s new NGO line at BRS is slated to start up in the third quarter of this year. Cold commissioning of the hydraulic systems, reversing cold mill, and cleaning section is underway. Achieving a full run rate of 200,000 tons per year of its InduxTM steel is expected in 2024.

“Once online, the new NGO line will empower U.S. Steel to play a pivotal role in the country’s transition from traditional combustion engines to electric cars,” president and CEO David Burritt said on the call.

Demand for the specialized NGO steel is already in high demand from customers, according to Burritt. “We’ve already presold our first coil of electrical steel from Big River,” he said. “It seems like not a day goes by that a customer isn’t reaching out, inquiring about reserving time on the new line.”

Producing electrical steels is not new to U.S. Steel. Its European operations in Slovakia have been making the product for 20 years, allowing it “to bring that expertise and proven track record to the United States,” Burritt said.

The launch of the new steel offering is further strengthening its partnership with the growing number of electric-vehicle (EV) manufacturers, he said.

That’s evidenced by the recent partnership U.S. Steel announced with General Motors, Lewis said, to provide the automaker with the sustainable verdeX® steel from BRS.

“I think the automotive market continues to be an attractive outlet for our volumes from Big River, and customer qualifications continue with great success and with real urgency as the autos continue to want to move their volumes to” BRS, he noted.

Laura Miller

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