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Pioneering new type of lightweight steel made in Alabama will be used in 2021 Ford Broncos

Ford Motor Company is using a new type of steel made in Calvert, Alabama, to build its 2021 Ford Broncos. The steel is both stronger than what it is replacing and reduced the weight of the vehicle by 10%.

The 2021 Bronco will be the first automobile in the world to use the grade of steel, which has the technical name Fortiform 980 GI and is made by the ArcelorMittal company.

The steel is made at AM/NS Calvert, a plant with over 1,600 employees in the northernmost part of Mobile County. AM/NS Calvert is a joint venture between ArcelorMittal (AM) and Nippon Steel (NS).

Prototypes of the new Bronco were 10% lighter when they used the Fortiform 980 GI than versions of the vehicle from earlier in the development process, according to ArcelorMittal.

“We brought this technology from ArcelorMittal R&D in East Chicago to the JV line in Calvert, Alabama,” said Jayanth Chintamani, director, automotive product research, ArcelorMittal R&D.

AM/NS Calvert is currently undergoing a previously announced major expansion that will see the facility bring on 300 new employees.

Chintamani added, “By designing the product at R&D and bringing it to Calvert for manufacturing we are adding value to Calvert JV operations and ArcelorMittal at large.”

Ford has not sold its “Bronco” line of vehicles in recent decades. The 2021 model is its reintroduction to the market. Promotional images indicate it will be sold on the appeal of taking it offroad.

(ArcelorMittal/Contributed)

The manufacturer says it has 150,000 preorders for the vehicle already, and that will enter production in February 2021 and be available in dealerships over the summer.

Also possible for Ford is the introduction of the new, lighter, Alabama made steel into some of its other vehicle lines.

“Ford conducts many tests before granting the product application ready status (AR). No other steel grade had been tested this much because this steel grade was so new and unique,” remarked Chintamani, indicating deep familiarity with the material among vehicle developers at Ford.

ArcelorMittal says it is now in “preliminary phases” of discussing with Ford how its new, Alabama-made steel can be used in the company’s “vehicles of tomorrow.”

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@new-yhn.local or on Twitter @HenryThornton95