DETROIT -

The Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), is starting 2013 with two exciting steel success stories.

The 2013 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year (NACTOY) award winners, the Cadillac ATS and Dodge Ram 1500, both feature an extensive amount of advanced high-strength steels (AHSS). The winners were announced during a news conference held Jan. 14 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

According to Cadillac, the all-new lightweight, rear-wheel-drive architecture of the ATS boosts one of the lowest curb weights in its segment, weighing less than 3,400 pounds.

Helping in the lightweighting effort, is the vehicle’s steel-intensive body-in-white, which applies an excellent assortment of dual and multiphase AHSS grades. It also features Cadillac’s first five-link independent rear suspension using lightweight, high-strength steel (HSS) and efficient straight link designs.

The 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 incorporates a newly designed frame that applies various steel grades, including an array of AHSS, while maintaining overall strength and durability.

According to Dodge, the Ram 1500 frame benefits from a weight reduction of up to 30 pounds and the front rails feature 20 percent increased yield strength from the use of HSS.

"By modifying steel’s unique microstructure, Cadillac and Dodge engineers were able to fine-tune the material to ensure its weight, strength and formability precisely matched their specific design requirements," Ron Krupitzer, vice president, automotive applications for SMDI, said. "The Steel Market Development Institute applauds their use of advanced steel grades and congratulates both companies on this noteworthy accomplishment."

According to the NACTOY Organizing Committee, the winning vehicles were judged and selected by a jury of 49 automotive journalists from the United States and Canada who represent magazines, television, radio, newspapers and websites.

The awards are designed to recognize the most outstanding new vehicles of the year. Jurors evaluate the vehicles on factors including value, innovation, handling, performance, safety and driver satisfaction.

Eligibility requirements dictate that the vehicles up for considering must be new or substantially revised for 2013 and be available for sale in North America.

AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice. AISI also plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology.

AISI is comprised of 25 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and 125 associate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry. AISI’s member companies represent over three quarters of both U.S. and North American steel capacity.