UPDATE 1-Ex-GM vice chair joins board of steel materials company

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Oct 10 (Reuters) - Former General Motors Co ViceChairman Robert Lutz has joined the board of a steel materialsdesign company in which the U.S. automaker has invested,NanoSteel Co Inc said on Wednesday.

Privately held NanoSteel has created a technology for themanufacture of a new class of high-strength steel that it hopesto eventually license to steelmakers for use in the autoindustry.

NanoSteel's "approach has the potential to offer the mostnatural progression for automakers to stick with their mosttrusted material - steel - and at the same time enjoyexceptional properties that support the design of nextgeneration fuel efficient vehicles," Lutz said in a companystatement.

Prior to GM, Lutz was president of Chrysler Corp, which isnow controlled by Fiat , and he held executive positionswith Ford Motor Co and BMW .

In August, GM's venture capital arm invested an undisclosedamount in NanoSteel as a way to tap into the company's new steelalloy technology.

"Over the next several years, light-weighting of vehicleswill be a major focus area to improve fuel economy," GM ChiefTechnology Officer and head of GM Ventures Jon Lauckner said atthe time of the investment. "NanoSteel's nano-structured alloysoffer unique material characteristics that are not availabletoday, making them a potential game-changer."

The lead investors in Providence, Rhode Island-basedNanoSteel include EnerTech Capital and Fairhaven CapitalPartners.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by MargueritaChoy)


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