Industry Convergence Powering the Global Automotive Composites Market
The global analysis of the automotive composites market quantifies the consumption of polymeric composites for automotive applications, and intends to gauge the level of impact that industry developments and trends?including tightening standards, evolving regulations, upsurge in electric vehicle (EV) sales, and increasing shift in consumer preferences?are expected to have on the uptake of composites and the demand for individual materials during the period 2019–2026. The study also presents historical volumes and revenues across segments for the period 2016–2019.
The study analyzes the automotive composites market focusing on 2 key material types, namely thermoplastic composites and thermoset composites. Furthermore, the study analyses the overall automotive composites market on the basis of reinforcing fiber types through 3 segments, namely glass fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP), carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP), and natural fiber reinforced polymer (NFRP). On the basis of applications, the study comprises 3 key segments, namely interior, exterior, and under-the-hood (UTH). The study covers each of the 2 material type segments (thermoplastics and thermosets) on the basis of fiber types and applications. It also quantifies the consumption of each of these segment types on the basis of a robust methodology, comprising analysis of the regional automotive production, average vehicle weight, uptake of individual composites, and prospects for individual materials during the forecast period.
While the global automotive market continued to grapple with faltering sales in the past year and a half, the spread of COVID-19 across the world and the entailing supply- and demand-side disruptions are expected to result in a sharp plunge in the overall automotive production and, hence, the composites demand in the short term. Global automotive sales are expected to plummet by more than 20% in 2020 from that in 2019. Although the market is expected to recover from 2021, the sales volumes are slated to surpass 2019 volumes during the second half of the forecast period. However, the ever-stringent fuel efficiency- and emissions-related regulations are expected to continue driving the uptake of light-weight materials, including composites for a wide range of automotive applications. Moreover, rapid electrification is expected to have a significant impact on material-mix of composites, as well as application dynamics.
While the average weight of conventional metals such as steel and aluminum is on the decline, the use of advanced grades of these metals has been on an upward trend, especially in structural applications. Plastics and composites are unlikely to completely displace conventional materials in such critical applications. The use of hybrid composites and localized use of metals and composites are expected to create growth opportunities for composites during the forecast period.
Continuous fiber reinforced composites are increasingly emerging as an attractive alternative to conventional materials to effect light-weighting across a variety of automotive applications such as front-end modules, seat shells, cross beams, door structures, underbody panels, and A and B pillars. Similarly, long-fiber reinforced thermoplastics (LFTs) are finding increasing use as alternatives both to conventional metals and short fiber grades, owing to higher strength, impact resistance, and superior component durability.
While the much-talked about carbon fiber composites exhibit superior light-weighting potential and higher strength and load-bearing capabilities to comply with changing regulatory requirements, these advanced composites have penetrated only a small volume share, owing to their exorbitant prices, elaborate processing, and high tooling costs. However, reducing carbon fiber prices and the availability of recycled carbon fibers are slated to drive increased adoption, especially during the second half of the forecast period.
The global automotive composites market is composed of several large participants operating across key regions and numerous mid-sized companies operating at regional and domestic levels. The focus on strengthening supply capabilities and efficacious, cost-effective solutions that ensure weight reduction without impacting cost and cycle times continues to drive product and application development efforts. Moreover, incumbents have been actively engaging in vertical and horizontal integration activities to derive growth and avail cost synergies.
Frost & Sullivan analysis indicates that the global automotive composites market is slated to register a moderate single-digit growth of approximately 4.7% in terms of revenue during the period 2019–2026.
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