Valin ArcelorMittal Automotive Steel Co (VAMA) today officially opened its new advanced automotive steel plant in China, beginning a new era of automotive manufacturing in the country.
VAMA, the joint venture between ArcelorMittal and Hunan Iron & Steel Co., will produce high-strength automotive steels that currently have to be imported, for the Chinese market. Located in the economic zone of Loudi, Hunan Province, and built on a greenfield site, this is one of the major investment projects jointly approved by China’s National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce. The total investment is 5.2 billion yuan (US$832 million).
The two-year construction project, involving more than 2,000 workers, was completed on schedule, achieving more than six million safe work hours, making it one of the safest steel projects in China. The completed project, which was built in 730 days compared with an industry average of three and a half years, will initially provide more than 600 high-skilled jobs, with plans to create more jobs as production increases.
China has the world’s fastest-growing automotive market, recording a 16 per cent increase in car sales to 18 million units last year, and is expected to account for 35 per cent of worldwide automotive growth between now and 2020.
VAMA will produce state-of-the-art grade steels for safe and cost-efficient lightweight design, superior surface quality and coating technology, helping to meet rapid growth in demand for advanced automotive steels in China. The annual production capacity will be 1.5 million tons, including 800,000 tons of cold rolled coils, 200,000 tons of aluminium-coated coils and 500,000 tons of hot-dip galvanised coils. VAMA covers a large range of automotive steel products, including those for visible structural parts, chassis and wheels.
ArcelorMittal, the world’s leading steel and mining company, has contributed the most advanced automotive steel production technology available, including Advanced and Ultra High Strength Steel (AHSS and UHSS) grades with levels of up to 1,200 MPa, Usibor(r) 1500P – a steel for hot stamping – and assisted with the completion of the quality control and R&D systems.
VAMA aims to supply international carmakers and Tier 1 suppliers as well as promote high-end solutions to domestic car manufacturers and their supplier networks. These include ArcelorMittal’s major customers in China, such as Volkswagen, GM, Ford, PSA, Daimler-Benz, BMW, Toyota, Honda, Renault, Fiat and Nissan, as well as leading domestic manufacturers such as Geely, Chery, Dongfeng, Guangzhou Auto, Shanghai Auto and Changan.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by Mr Lakshmi Mittal, chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal, Mr. Cao Huiquan, chairman and CEO of Hunan Valin Steel, Hunan Governor Du Jiahao, Hunan Vice Governor Chen Zhaoxiong and other senior Chinese and ArcelorMittal leaders, underlining the importance of the manufacturing project to the development of the automotive industry in China.
Speaking in Loudi today, Mr Lakshmi Mittal, chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal, said the completion of the major project with six million safe work hours, on schedule and within budget was a “remarkable achievement which sets a new standard in our industry” adding:
“The most advanced technology has been extended to VAMA, which is therefore ideally positioned to give auto manufacturers greater flexibility to produce lighter, safer and more environmentally friendly cars for customers in China”.
Mr Cao Huiquan, chairman and CEO of Hunan Valin Steel said: “The VAMA project is an important milestone for Hunan Valin to transform from a regional niche producer to a full service provider. The success of VAMA relies on the highest efficiency from Valin LYS, to VAMA, to downstream steel service centres, to automotive end-users. Following the example of a small number of Sino-foreign automotive steel joint ventures in China, both Valin and ArcelorMittal are inspired to build a profitable and sustainable VAMA that can become the pride of Hunan Province and the Chinese steel industry.”
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