The North American Auto Show creates a buzz in the auto industry among media, industry and consumers alike. Together with Steel Market Development Institute our team took part in the Press and Industry Days celebrating steel’s role in bringing the 2017 models to life.

NAIASFrom left: ArcelorMittal Dofasco’s Paul Schurter, Global Technology Manager, Automotive Product Applications, and Sean Donnelly, President and CEO, take a close look at the body-in-white of the Chrysler Pacifica, named the 2017 North American Utility Vehicle of the year – the first winner in this newly formed category. Made in Windsor, ON, the Pacifica is the first minivan to earn a 2016 TOP SAFETY PICK+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

At the show’s Press and Industry Days, new models were revealed, concepts were unveiled and the future of the driving pondered. For the third consecutive year, the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), was a premier sponsor of NAIAS Press and Industry Days, Jan. 8 – 11. SMDI (of which ArcelorMittal Dofasco is a member) hosted a 6000 square foot exhibit space promoting steel’s superiority over alternative materials when looking at performance, value and sustainability. Two body-in-white structures were also on display, including the Honda Ridgeline, named the 2017 North American Truck of the Year, and the Chrysler Pacifica, named the 2017 North American Utility Vehicle of the year – the first winner in this newly formed category. The body-in-white structures illustrate how steel contributes to the superior performance needed in many categories to win the prestigious awards.

During a press briefing on January 10, the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), presented the annual “Men and Women of Steel” awards to two distinguished honorees who are championing the use of advanced high-strength steel (AHSS).

The Industry Innovator Award was presented to Gregory Warden, executive director and global functional leader, body, exterior & dimensional engineering at General Motors (GM). The award acknowledges automotive designers or engineers who showcase superior innovation in their use of AHSS. Warden’s team is leading in the application and advancement of AHSS and General Motors’ ongoing use of steel in their vehicles exemplifies this. Thanks to companies like GM, who fully exploit the properties and value of steel, the growth of AHSS has exceeded expectations.

The Community Hero Award recognizes individuals and organizations whose work using steel impacts the quality of life of the community. The 2017 recipient is Steve Marks, industry technical support manager at Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR). His work includes conducting research on collision repair, OEM contract training and development and is a lead instructor for certification programs. Marks educates the next generation of technicians about the repair processes for steel, which have been widely taught for many years. As steel is reinvented and new grades are produced, Marks aids in the redevelopment of the repair process making sure it is as advanced as the new steels.