Abstract For the purpose of developing Nb–V–Ti microalloyed, hot rolled, high strength automotive steel for usage in heavy-duty truck wheel-discs and wheel-rims, appropriate cooling processes were designed, and microstructures and comprehensive mechanical properties (tension, bending, hole-expansion, and Charpy impact) of the tested steels at two cooling schedules were studied. The results indicate that the steel consists of 90% 5μm polygonal ferrite and 10% pearlite when subjected to a cooling rate of 13°C/s and a coiling temperature of 650°C. The yield strength, tensile strength, and hole-expansion ratio are 570MPa, 615MPa, and 95%, respectively, which meet the requirements of the wheel-disc application. The steel consists of 20% 3μm polygonal ferrite and 80% bainite (granular bainite and a small amount of acicular ferrite) when subjected to a cooling rate of 30°C/s and a coiling temperature of 430°C. The yield strength, tensile strength, and hole-expansion ratio are 600MPa, 655MPa, and 66%, respectively, which meet the requirements of the wheel-rim application. Both the ferrite–pearlite steel and ferrite–bainite steel possess excellent bendability and Charpy impact property. The precipitation behavior and dislocation pattern are characterized and discussed.