The next-gen steel is stronger and lighter than ever before.
Fans of the Ford Bronco are frothing at the mouth for the launch of the famous off-roader, and pre-orders have already crossed the 150,000 mark despite the financial implications of a global pandemic. With production already in full swing, Ford has been teasing fans with hardcore versions of the Bronco and has been revealing some interesting design characteristics, and now it has announced that industry giant ArcelorMittal has been selected as the sole provider of steel for the 2021 Bronco. Ford will be making use of the company's Fortiform 980 GI steel, a third-generation advanced high-strength steel, making the Bronco the first car in the world to use this specific grade.
Ford set some very high standards when it came to the production of the Bronco, and required the steel to have a perfect balance of strength and ductility, as well as reducing the overall weight of the car without affecting durability.
"Ford's chief engineer gave us a goal to decrease the total vehicle weight reduction by 10%. In terms of safety, we selected a higher strength material which gives Ford a huge safety advantage," said Michael Lizak, global technology coordinator for Ford at Automotive Product Applications R&D.
The steel provided by ArcelorMittal has proven to be superior to the competition in terms of weldability and is a lower grade than the original DP800 and DP600 steel used in early production.
"We had a product that was engineered to have very good weldability desired by Ford," said Jayanth Chintamani, director, automotive product research, ArcelorMittal R&D. "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," he concluded.
The steel will be produced at AM/NS Calvert in Alabama, and according to simulated computer tests, experts foresee an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus rating for the Bronco with the help of the superior product. The Bronco is expected to hit showroom floors in the second quarter of 2021.