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January 11, 2019

Mazda Has Found a Way to Make the 2019 Mazda3 Stiffer Yet Lighter Than Before

Using its new Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture, Mazda has found a way to make it stiffer and safer while still shaving off weight in the process. Their answer: the world’s first cold-stamped vehicle parts made of 1,310 MPa-class high-strength steel. It will be used in all upcoming models starting with the all-new 2019 Mazda3.

Until now, cold-stamping of vehicle body structural members has only been possible with 1,180 MPa or lower-classed steel, due to the material's formability and the difficulty of ensuring dimensional accuracy after processing. Working in collaboration with Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Corporation, however, Mazda has found an appropriate set of processing conditions that make the process possible with 1,310 MPa-class high-strength steel.

High-strength steel enables automakers to make parts from thinner sheet metal while retaining the necessary yield strength. This results in a lighter vehicle body, which contributes to improved handling stability, and fuel economy. A strong body is also essential to ensure crash safety performance, and the application of higher-strength steel has been widely anticipated.

The all-new Mazda3 uses 1,310 MPa-class high-strength steel for the front pillar inner, the roof rail inner, the hinge pillar reinforcement, the roof rail reinforcement, the No. 2 crossmember and the side sill inner reinforcement, saving about 3 kilograms over the same parts in the previous model.

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