Kobe Steel Targets Automotive Steel Supply to European Plants in Asia

Kobe Steel tries to get new steel order from Asian transplants of European automakers as a part of alliance with Voestalpine of Austria. Kobe Steel develops material suited for original parts processing technology of Voestalpine. Kobe Steel transferred the technology to Voestalpine for steel supply to European transplants of Japanese automakers and the reverse situation is the new attempt. The step makes their 10 years alliance into new stage. They increase the presence to the users and they expand the business by supplying steel in each market through the alliance scheme.

They had top meeting in Paris and staff meeting in Japan last week. They are talking potential transfer of material making for Voestalpine’s processing technology, in which material strength increases after the process, to Kobe Steel. Kobe Steel’s president Hiroshi Sato said the firm needs certain development period for reliability and the process could take several months at best case.

Voestalpine’s chairman Wolfgang Eder said the firm recommends Kobe Steel’s steel products as supplier for Asian transplants of European carmakers as Kobe Steel did when Toyota Motor and other Japanese carmakers built European plants. The partners cooperate for new supply route from Kobe Steel to European Asian automobile operations.

Kobe Steel has experience to ship steel for European carmakers and the firm got order for steel with Voestalpine’s technology from Japanese automobile industry. However, it is new for Kobe Steel’s steel supply with Voestalpine’s technology for European carmakers.

Kobe Steel and Voestalpine entered into technical cooperation in automobile area in January 2002. They expanded the cooperation to other areas including steel work operation and environmental actions. They will celebrate 10 years anniversary of the successful cooperation.