Only a few months after Steel Dynamics’ announcement, Nucor Corp. said in January it planned to invest $1.35 billion to build a U.S. steel mill at an unspecified location in the Midwest.
Nucor, of Charlotte, N.C., said the mill will produce 1.2 million tons of steel plate products annually by 2022. A Nucor press release noted the Midwest is the largest plate-consuming region in the U.S.
Nucor CEO John Ferriola acknowledged in the announcement that Washington policy changes — not just trade policies — had encouraged the company’s investment. He welcomed those changes.
“This administration is taking the decisive and meaningful actions that American manufacturers need to compete on a level playing field,” Ferriola said in the statement at the time. “Tax reform, continued improvements to our regulatory approach and strong trade enforcement are giving businesses like ours the confidence to make long-term capital investments here in the U.S. that create jobs and ensure our success for decades to come.”
Automakers are not heavily concentrated in the western U.S., beyond assembly plants in San Antonio and Arlington, Texas, and Tesla’s factory in Fremont, Calif.
Still, Steel Dynamics says Mexico’s market for flat-rolled steel is underserved and last month said it would acquire the majority of the equity interest of flat-rolled steel maker United Steel Supply, of Austin, Texas, for $134 million. Steel Dynamics did not respond to multiple requests from Automotive News for comment.
Arizona last year won major investment commitments from Lucid Motors, an electric-car manufacturer, and Nikola Motor Co., a hydrogen-electric semi truck manufacturer. Now the state is pursuing steel plant investment.
A spokeswoman for the Arizona Commerce Authority said the state includes Mexico in the region it pitches to potential investors, calling the investment zone the Arizona-Sonora region. That region includes a plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, that produces the Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ.
“Companies chose Arizona knowing the state has access to the products — including steel — that meet their needs,” the spokeswoman said in a statement to Automotive News. “With those and other companies soon to be operating in the state, a steel mill — which we don’t currently have in Arizona — would be a welcome addition to the automotive supply chain.”