To predict the behaviour of structures at early stages of the development process by numerical simulations sufficiently, a proper description of material properties, e.g. rolling induced orthotropy of sheet metals, is necessary. This work focuses on the orthotropic failure of high and ultrahigh strength steel sheet metals. Material behaviour was investi-gated by applying various measurement methods, e.g. digital image correlation, revealing a dependency on the loading and the specimen orientations. Moreover, the influence of the material thickness was examined for selected high strength steels.The plastic instability, which defines the onset of damage of the continuum, was specified experimentally based on the local strain fields. These were also utilised to describe the load paths incorporating the applied plasticity model. On basis of these load paths the failure points as well as the failure curves of the material model were established.Based on the experimental results, all materials were characterised including their orthotropic properties. To distinguish the effect of orthotropy, a robustness analysis was conducted. Even though the material model was able to represent the different speci-mens, only minor effects were observed for the virtually investigated component.