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Light-weighting Role of Performance Plastics in the European Automotive Market
Exterior and Under-the-Hood Applications will Open Up Metal Replacement Opportunities
- The European automotive industry is at the forefront in terms of technological advancements. It is focused on light-weighting strategies and enhancing passenger comfort. Housing the major global automotive manufacturers, the demand for plastics is projected to accelerate during the forecast period.
- Growing environmental concerns, along with regulatory trends to reduce carbon footprint, have steered the focus of automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to continuously reduce fuel consumption and carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions from vehicles.
- The use of plastics in automotive applications not only offers advantages such as decreased fuel consumption, weight reduction, environmental sustainability and enhanced design flexibility but also delivers passenger safety features.
- Safety functionalities such as shock absorption in bumpers, materials to reduce explosion risks in under-the-hood (UTH) applications and life-saving accessories such as air bags and seat belts are accelerating the need for materials that offer increased design freedom, aid in light-weighting and deliver cost-competitiveness.
- Dynamics in the automotive plastics market centre around metal replacement opportunities in certain applications and the substitution of competing plastic compounds and reinforced and composite materials in different applications.
Executive Summary—Strategic Factsheet
- In 2012, the automotive plastics market generated a revenue of € million, and is forecast to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of xx% between 2012 and 2019.
- The polypropylene (PP) segment dominated the market with a xx% share in terms of volume, whereas the high-performance polymer (HPP) segment was the smallest with a xx% share.
- The automotive plastics market is highly competitive. In 2012, the top xx participants held a xx% share.
- In addition to cost-ompetitiveness and supply security, technical competence and the integration of resin manufacturing capability remain critical.
- The automotive plastics market is forecast to reach € million in 2019. Unit shipment is expected to reach xxmillion kilogrammes (kg), at a CAGR of xx%.
- The blends segment is projected to witness maximum growth from 2012 to 2019, at a CAGR of xx%.
- In-car acoustic management, fenders, spoilers, and UTH applications offer immense growth opportunities for metal replacement by plastic compounds.
- Blends and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) compounds are gaining momentum in a number of interior and exterior applications while PP compounds will continue to dominate the total market due to their cost advantage.
- The economic scenario in Europe, along with the sluggish automotive production trends, has significantly influenced the automotive plastics market. However, the light-weighting trend and the regulatory requirements are expected to drive the use of plastics in the automotive industry.
- High-level technical expertise and long-term relationships with OEMs are critical in the automotive plastics market. Hence, entry barriers are high for new participants to cater to the rapidly evolving needs of the automotive industry.
- Metal replacement opportunities for plastics have matured in interior applications while exterior and UTH applications offer immense growth prospects for the penetration of plastics.
- Composites and reinforced materials pose strong competition for plastics in the automotive industry. Technological advancements in resin manufacturing as well as processing techniques to develop innovative plastic compounds are of importance.
- Compound manufacturers need to work closely with automotive component manufacturers and OEMs to ensure robust design capabilities. Long-term relationships are even more critical to ensure continuous material supply to the automotive industry.
- This research service examines the automotive plastics market in Europe.
- The polymers used in passenger and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) have been included in the study while medium, heavy-duty and industrial vehicles have been excluded.
- Market revenue and volume are expressed in Euros and kg, respectively. Polymer prices are represented in Euro/kg.
- Light-weighting capability, improved aesthetics, design flexibility and cost-competitiveness have helped plastics rapidly replace other competing materials such as metals, rubber and fibres in the automotive industry.
- The choice of plastics over other materials has proven to offer xx% weight reduction along with a xx-xx% savings in terms of fuel consumption.
- Additionally, a xx kg weight reduction, on average, helps to decrease CO2 emissions by approximately 20.0 kg.
- PP is the most commonly used polymer in automotive applications, followed by PE.
- These compounds have a well-established market for themselves, while continuous research and development (R&D) activities are driving the substitution of one over the other for cost, performance and improved aesthetics.
- The choice of polymers across different applications is based on the OEMs/component manufacturers, along with the capability of their chemical partner to compound the resins to suit the former's requirements.
Material and Other Trends
- The materials used in automotive applications are witnessing rapid dynamics due to OEM preference for light-weighting, end-user demand for enhanced comfort and safety and regulatory requirements to reduce CO2 emissions from vehicles.
- Spoilers, fenders, liftgates and glazing are the key applications that offer profitable metal substitution.
- PP, PC/ABS and ABS compounds compete closely in different applications such as dashboard panels, bumpers and mirror housing. OEMs, component manufacturers and compound manufacturers work closely with each other for material selection and product design after evaluating the required characteristic properties and cost implications for the specific application. For instance, high-end luxury cars are likely to have more PC/ABS content (to enhance aesthetics) when compared to the PP compounds that are used in economy cars where the cost constraints are much tighter.
- Another significant dynamic in the automotive plastics market is the competition from reinforced and composite materials for plastic compounds in different applications. UTH applications require the continuous substitution of virgin plastic compounds by reinforced and composite materials. Air intake manifolds (AIMs), engine covers, radiator end caps and fans/shrouds are some examples.
Segment Life Cycle Analysis : Market Description
- The PP segment is the largest in terms of revenue and volume in the automotive plastics market. The use of PP compounds is maturing in interior applications such as dashboard panels, centre consoles and door panels.
- The PU segment has penetrated seating applications while noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) applications will offer significant growth opportunities in future.
- ABS is projected to find opportunities in interior applications in replacing PP compounds.
- HPP compounds hold a significant share in terms of revenue; however, they have smaller volume implications as they are predominantly used in niche applications.
- Automotive applications offer limited prospects for non-reinforced PA compounds when compared to their reinforced and composite counterparts.
- Other compounds find applications in different areas while competition from PP and ABS compounds has restrained their growth. PC and blends hold a small share while they are poised for strong growth during the forecast period.
Key Questions This Study Will Answer
- At what stage of its lifecycle is the market and how is it expected to grow?
- What are the key factors driving and restraining market growth?
- What are the dynamics influencing the growth of the different market segments?
- What are the growth opportunities for the different application segments in the market?
- Who are the leading market participants?
- What are the key competitive factors governing the market?
Mega Trends and Industry Convergence Implications
Driver and Restraints—Total Automotive Plastics Market
Forecasts and Trends—Total Automotive Plastics Market
Market Share and Competitive Analysis—Total Automotive Plastics Market
CEO's 360 Degree Perspective of the Automotive Plastics Industry
PP Segment Breakdown
PU Segment Breakdown
PA Segment Breakdown
PC Segment Breakdown
ABS Segment Breakdown
HPP Segment Breakdown
Blends Segment Breakdown
Other Compounds Segment Breakdown
The Last Word
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