POSCO, the nation’s top steelmaker, is spurring global expansion in its automotive steel sheet business, having set the goal of becoming the world best steelmaker in this segment.
POSCO is currently one of the top three steelmakers along with ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel in annual production capacity of car steel products.
“Steel products used for cars is one of the seven strategic product categories for the group’s future growth,’’ POSCO chairman Kwon Oh-joon said in a recent investor relations session.
|A car frame, made using POSCO’s automotive steel sheets, which are lighter but stronger than other steel products, is displayed at the firm’s R&D center, located in the firm’s Gwangyang Steelworks. (POSCO)|
The reason why POSCO has made car steel products a priority is the positive growth outlook for the global car market.
According to the think tank Global Insight, global car production is expected to grow 3.9 percent this year from a year ago.
“We believe that demand for automotive steel sheets will be on the rise, linked to the projected rise in global car production,’’ a POSCO official said.
For the sake of continued investments in R&D for high-quality car steel products and for overseas expansion, POSCO has built an extensive global network of partners. Now, the steelmaker supplies high-value-added car steel sheets not only to local carmakers like Hyundai Automotive Group but also to carmakers in the global top 15, including BMW, Toyota and General Motors.
POSCO is forecast to further invest in building additional continuous galvanizing lines, or CGLs, overseas, as top management has raised the firm’s annual production target of galvanized steel products to 10 million tons.
Industry watchers said POSCO will further increase the number of overseas CGL lines to implement its capacity expansion plan.
Regarding current CGL production lines overseas, POSCO runs a CGL in Guangdong, China; India and Mexico. Early this year, the steelmaker opened its second automotive steel plant in Mexico.
The additional investments in Mexico are based on rising demand for car steel sheets. Mexico is a production hub for U.S. carmakers.
“Global demand for POSCO’s automotive steel sheets has increased due to product quality and customized services delivered to clients,’’ Lee yoon-hwan from the car steel product market department said.
“Global clients give credit to POSCO’s total solution providing services, which will lead to improvements in production efficiency and cost reduction.’’
By Seo Jee-yeon (firstname.lastname@example.org)