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

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

Privately held NanoSteel has created a technology for the manufacture of a new class of high-strength steel that it hopes to eventually license to steelmakers for use in the auto industry.

NanoSteel's "approach has the potential to offer the most natural progression for automakers to stick with their most trusted material - steel - and at the same time enjoy exceptional properties that support the design of next generation fuel efficient vehicles," Lutz said in a company statement.

Prior to GM, Lutz was president of Chrysler Corp, which is now controlled by Fiat , and he held executive positions with Ford Motor Co and BMW .

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

"Over the next several years, light-weighting of vehicles will be a major focus area to improve fuel economy," GM Chief Technology Officer and head of GM Ventures Jon Lauckner said at the time of the investment. "NanoSteel's nano-structured alloys offer unique material characteristics that are not available today, making them a potential game-changer."

The lead investors in Providence, Rhode Island-based NanoSteel include EnerTech Capital and Fairhaven Capital Partners.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Marguerita Choy)


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