TOKYO - NKK Corporation (President and CEO: Mr. Masayuki Hammyo) and Kawasaki Steel
Corporation (President and CEO: Mr. Fumio Sudo) of the JFE Group (JFE), together with
ThyssenKrupp Stahl AG (Chairman of the Executive Board: Dr. Karl-Ulrich Köhler) today
announced that ThyssenKrupp Stahl (TKS) has succeeded in winning orders from Toyota
Motor Europe Manufacturing (TMEM) for bake-hardening steel sheets*, officially referred
to by the product name GA340BH.
In response to growing requirements by automotive customers for global availability
of innovative steel materials, NKK, Kawasaki Steel and TKS signed a comprehensive
technological cooperation agreement in April, 2002. Under this agreement the three
parties have been working together to establish a global steel supply network, conducting
joint technological activities in the field of carbon flat steel focused on automotive
steel products, and on R&D in this area, to produce tangible solutions for the
companies' automotive customers.
Although GA340BH is widely used in Japan for outer automotive panels, differences
in automakers' design policies mean that this grade with its specific characteristics
has not been used for this particular application among European automakers. Within
the framework of comprehensive cooperation, and at TMEM's request, TKS worked with
JFE to obtain the necessary technical information and production know-how. As a result,
TKS has been able to prepare a stable production base for the supply of GA340BH to
TMEM and in line with its local purchasing strategy, TMEM was able to award the order
for GA340BH to TKS.
Winning the TMEM order is a clear example of how the cooperative efforts of the
strategic partners can bolster the satisfaction of automotive customers by expanding
global material availability and enhancing world-wide service levels.
In a similar way, TKS will actively pursue further opportunities to also obtain
new orders from the other TMEM assembly lines. Concrete results are expected not only
from the mutual exchange of information regarding existing technologies, but also
from joint R&D in future technologies. The optimal combination of high potentials
and creativity will increase business opportunities for both companies on a global
||Bake-hardening steel is a kind of high strength steel that shows optimum
formability during the stamping process, and acquires additional strength for light
weight and crash worthiness later by the heat hardening effect that occurs in the
baking process of body painting.