New Study Confirms Lightweight Styled Steel Wheels Equivalent in Mass to Aluminum and up to 40 Percent Cost Savings

DETROIT, Aug. 6, 2013 – To assist automakers in manufacturing vehicles that will meet the new fuel economy regulations while also offering style to consumers, the Steel Market Development Institute’s (SMDI) Wheels Task Force recently unveiled the results of its latest lightweight steel wheel project. The analysis developed a stylish new steel wheel design solution that is equivalent in mass to a comparable aluminum wheel, but at a 30 to 40 percent cost saving. SMDI is a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute.

“This new steel wheel design provides automakers with a great foundation for a lightweight, affordable wheel that consumers will love,” said Ronald Krupitzer, vice president, automotive market, SMDI. “With automakers looking for solutions to develop lightweighting technologies, here is another example of steel matching aluminum in mass while beating aluminum in cost. It’s also a highly styled wheel that will help sell cars.”

This project applied state-of–the-art concept design and analytical methods to an existing high-volume wheel to achieve an advanced lightweight design that can be adapted to various vehicle platforms. Advanced manufacturing processes and new steel grades were evaluated to increase the weight and cost savings potential for the wheel assembly design. The results of this study provide a lightweight design methodology in a format that can be used by automotive wheel designers to help improve designs at a significantly reduced weight and cost.

Funded by members of SMDI’s Wheels Task Force, the steel wheel project engineering work was conducted by Troy, Mich.-based Altair Engineering, Inc. For a copy of the executive summary, click here.

AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice. AISI also plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology. AISI is comprised of 24 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and 125 associate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry. AISI’s member companies represent over three quarters of both U.S. and North American steel capacity. For more news about steel and its applications, view AISI’s website at

SMDI grows and maintains the use of steel through strategies that promote cost-effective solutions in the automotive, construction and container markets, as well as for new growth opportunities in emerging steel markets. For more news or information, visit or follow us on twitter at

SMDI Steel Wheels Task Force Members:

• Accuride Corporation
• AK Steel Corporation
• ArcelorMittal Dofasco
• ArcelorMittal USA LLC
• Carlisle Tire & Wheel Co.
• Chrysler Group; CMWA
• Ford Motor Company
• General Motors Company
• Heidtman Steel Products
• Hess Industries, Inc.
• IBD Connection, Inc.
• Lacks Wheel Trim Systems
• Maxion Wheels Company, Ltd
• Nucor Corporation
• Severstal North America
• ThyssenKrupp Steel USA, LLC
• Topy America, Inc.
• United States Steel Corp

Deanna Lorincz
Senior Director, Communications
Steel Market Development Institute
Tel: 248.945.4763