Nissan Recognized by SMDI for Use of AHSS at 14th Annual GDIS Seminar

LIVONIA, Mich. May 13, 2015 – The Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) awarded Nissan Motor Co. the Automotive Excellence Award for implementing advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) to reduce mass in body-in-white structures while also reducing cost. The award was presented today at the 14th annual Great Designs in Steel (GDIS) seminar in Livonia, Mich.  

Paul Villemonte, senior materials engineer, accepted the award on behalf of the Nissan Technical Center, NA and his colleagues, Masahito Katsukura from Nissan Motor Co., Japan Materials AE Department and Takaaki Kondou from the Nissan Technical Center, Europe. Villemonte delivered the award-winning presentation, “1.2 Gigapascal (GPa) Tensile Strength High Formability, Conventionally Stamped Steel” at GDIS 2014.

As part of Nissan’s long-term vision to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, they discovered reducing vehicle weight by 15 percent cut emissions by 5 percent. The design team researched high-strength materials to help achieve this goal. The result was the development of 1.2 GPa tensile strength, high-elongation steel, which is very formable and can be applied to complex shapes. The first application of the material was on the Infiniti Q5, where they achieved a mass reduction of 11 kg.

“The work the Nissan team did to develop this new grade of steel proves the value of AHSS and how important the material is on a global level to help cut emissions and reduce mass,” said Jody Hall, vice president, automotive market, SMDI. “Over the past year, we’ve seen a number of AHSS applications from Nissan – the Inifiniti Q5, the 2015 Murano and the recently unveiled Maxima - all which prove new grades of steel will be a key material for Nissan and other automakers moving forward.”  

The SMDI Automotive Excellence Award recognizes individuals or teams from automakers, suppliers or the academic community who embrace innovation and make significant contributions to the advancement of steel in the automotive marketplace. Award winners are chosen from presenters at the previous year’s GDIS seminar. Candidates are rated in several categories, including: implementation in production; overall contribution to the advancement of steel; challenges and benefits associated with cost, mass reduction and performance; replacement of competing materials; and structural performance and efficiency.

GDIS debuted in 2002 and has grown in attendance and scope. In 2014, more than 1,300 North American vehicle manufacturers, Tier 1 suppliers, equipment suppliers, university representatives, steel company personnel and technical reporters attended the seminar. Founding members include: AK Steel Corporation; ArcelorMittal Dofasco; ArcelorMittal USA LLC; Nucor Corporation; and United States Steel Corporation. GDIS 2015 featured welcoming remarks by Brad Davey, chief commercial officer of ArcelorMittal North America Flat Rolled and Ralp­h Gilles, head of design for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. as keynote speaker. Helping to support this year’s event are GDIS Gold Sponsors’ Dow Automotive Systems and Superior Roll Forming.

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 19 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and approximately 125 associate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry.

SMDI increases and defends the use of steel by developing innovative materials, applications and value-added solutions for customers in the automotive, construction and packaging markets. SMDI automotive investors include: AK Steel Corporation, ArcelorMittal Dofasco, ArcelorMittal USA, Nucor Corporation and United States Steel Corporation. For more information on SMDI, visit or follow @DriveUsingSteel on Twitter.

Editor’s note: For an electronic image of the award presentation, please click here.

Image caption: SMDI President, Larry Kavanagh (left) and SMDI’s Vice President of the automotive market, Dr. Jody Hall (right) present the Automotive Excellence Award to Nissan’s Paul Villemonte at the 14th annual Great Designs in Steel Seminar.

Deanna Lorincz
Senior Director, Communications
Steel Market Development Institute
Tel: 248.945.4763 / 586.634.1766

Jennifer Greenfelder
Director, Automotive Communications
Steel Market Development Institute
Tel: 248.945.4767 / 658.823.7145