DETROIT — U.S. Steel Corp. is spending billions to ramp up production of greener, high-strength steel as it looks to withstand the rise of aluminum and maintain business in a changing auto industry.
The company is constructing a $3 billion mill in Osceola, Ark., that will produce advanced high-strength and electrical steels for industries, including autos. These new products include its VerdeX green steel offering, which is made with up to 75 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared with typical steel production and that U.S. Steel said in February will be supplied to General Motors.
It's a significant example of how the 122-year-old steel maker is reimagining its products and is working with its automotive customers as it tries to fend off the growing popularity of aluminum. Aluminum is generally lighter than steel, making it an attractive material for automakers looking to build lighter vehicles for increased gas mileage or electric vehicle battery range — and it represents a potential threat to any steelmaker's bottom line.
"Our engineers are working really closely with all of our major customer engineering teams to get the most out of that steel material," said Ken Jaycox, U.S. Steel's chief commercial officer, in an interview with Automotive News. "We feel really good about where steel is positioned."
The auto industry has long been a significant driver of business for U.S. Steel and it remains so today. According to an annual regulatory filing, U.S. Steel shipped 3.25 million tons of steel to the transportation and automotive sectors in 2022, accounting for about 22 percent of all of its steel shipments, more than any other industry.