BUSINESS

POSCO strengthens ties with carmakers for premium steel sales

By Seo Jee-yeon

The steelmaker is working closely with Korean automaking contractors like GM Korea, even marketing new cars built with its steel products

  • Published : May 23, 2016 - 15:38
  • Updated : May 24, 2016 - 15:00
There are a couple of things in common among Ssangyong Motor’s Tivoli Air, Renault Samsung’s SM6 and GM Korea’s all-new Malibu. They are new cars gaining high attention in the market from the preorder stage and they have also adopted steel sheets made by POSCO for their car bodies.

“The growing popularity of the new cars by the three Korean automakers this year gives a boost to sales of the company’s high value-added automotive steel products,” a POSCO spokesperson said. 

POSCO chairman Kwon Oh-joon (right) shakes hands with GM Korea CEO James Kim in front of the all-new Malibu built with POSCO’s steel products. The steelmaker allowed the carmaker to display its new mid-sedan in front of the steelmaker’s Seoul office, located in Daechi-dong, southern Seoul, Monday, for a joint-marketing effort. (GM Korea)

Among new car models rolled out in the Korean car market this year, SM6 and the all-new Malibu sedans, in particular, used POSCO’s high-quality steel products for their entire structure. Tivoli Air, the long-body version of Ssangyong’s best-selling Tivoli compact SUV, used POSCO’s steel sheets for about 70 percent of its car body.

To prop up falling profitability amid prolonged oversupply in the global steel industry, the nation’s top steelmaker has been enhancing sales of high value-added “world premium” items, including automotive steel products, for the past few years.

As of now, POSCO said sales of its automotive steel sheets make up about 40 percent of its entire world premium product sales. The steelmaker seeks to raise the proportion to 70 percent in the near future.

POSCO has also been a contractor for Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, which are under the Hyundai Motor Group, but it decreased the supply volume for the Korean auto giant in line with the growth of Hyundai Steel, the steel-making arm of Hyundai Motor Group.

This is part of the reason why POSCO tries to build closer partnership with the three Korean automakers, even marketing new cars built on its steel products.

As for the latest marketing tie-up with a Korean automaker, the steelmaker allowed Chevrolet’s all-new Malibu to be displayed in front of its Seoul center in Daechi-dong, southern Seoul, on Monday for a three-day run.

With the help of the steelmaker, GM also runs a promotion program for POSCO employees, including a special discount on Chevrolet products.

“The active collaboration with globally renowned suppliers such as POSCO contributed to the successful launch of the new Malibu. It demonstrates the importance and benefit of leveraging our suppliers’ superb quality competitiveness,” GM Korea CEO James Kim said.

According to GM Korea, the 2016 Malibu shed 130 kilograms of mass from the previous-generation Malibu through the extensive application of POSCO’s high-strength steel, combined with the adoption of advanced weight reduction technologies.

“This resulted in best-in-segment fuel economy and exhilarating ride performance without sacrificing safety,” the carmaker said in a press release.

The Malibu recently received the highest safety rating in the New Car Assessment Program conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the U.S.

POSCO said it expects to use the safety rating of the new Malibu in marketing the technological prowess of its steel products in the global market.

By Seo Jee-yeon (jyseo@heraldcorp.com)