China Automotive Lightweight Material (Metal) Industry Report, 2014-2018
Lightweight materials are one of key means to achieve lightweight vehicles. Currently, lightweight materials used in automobiles include high-strength steel, aluminum alloy, magnesium alloy, plastic and composites, carbon fiber and so forth. Among them, iron and steel (including high-strength steel) account for about 70%, aluminum alloy and plastic 8%-10% each, and magnesium alloy only 0.5%-1.0%.
By weight, body, powertrain and chassis system occupy about 60% of a vehicle, especially body shares more than 20%, so it is a target in terms of weight loss and an important part for the application of automotive lightweight materials.
Automotive Steel Sheet: Automotive steel sheet is a main raw material in automobile production. In 2014, China's automobile production consumed at least 15 million tons of steel. However, China has limited varieties of automotive steel sheet, and ultra-high strength steel sheet only makes up 2%-5%, while some lightweight automotive sheets with higher strength need to be imported due to the impossible commercialized mass production.
As a high-end product in the steel industry, automotive steel sheet is only supplied domestically by players such as Baosteel, Wuhan Iron and Steel, Anshan Iron and Steel, Shougang, Benxi Steel, and Valin Steel owing to high technical requirements, marking a high market concentration rate.
Baosteel is a giant in China's automotive steel sheet industry, holding 50% market share. Baosteel is the only Chinese enterprise that achieves large-scale production of ultra-high strength steel sheet. In 2014, its output reached 175,000 tons, accounting for 43.5% market share.
Following Baosteel, Wuhan Iron and Steel produced 3 million tons of automotive sheet in 2014, seizing about 20% market share. Meanwhile, Anshan Iron and Steel manufactured 1.9 million tons with 13% market share.
Although with the large capacity of automotive steel sheet up to 1.5 million tons/a, Valin Steel did not release the capacity fully in 2014. However, Valin Steel’s high-strength automotive sheet is in line with the automotive lightweight trend. In 2015, it is expected to show market competitiveness and seize about 10% market share.
Automotive Aluminum Alloy Materials: Aluminum and aluminum alloy are the current priority materials for the global automotive lightweight. Currently, they find wide application in auto parts like wheels, engines, heat exchangers, turbochargers and gearboxes.
However, there are rather high technical thresholds in the field of aluminum alloy automotive sheet. Chinese aluminum alloy processing enterprises are weak at technologies, and they mainly target popular economical cars and has limited demand for aluminum alloy cars. Therefore, in the past few years, China's automobile industry has developed rapidly, while China’s aluminum alloy automotive sheet industry has evolved slowly with the capacity growing sluggishly.
In 2014, China’s consumption of automotive aluminum alloy hit 300,000 tons. However, the supply and demand of aluminum alloy automotive sheet in the country still stayed at a low level. The high-end mainstream market was dominated by Novelis, KOBELCO, Aleris and other foreign brands.
In October 2014, Novelis (Changzhou) put its 120,000 t / a automotive aluminum sheet/strip project into operation, making China’s automotive aluminum alloy sheet capacity reach 185,000 tons. In addition, KOBELCO, Aleris, Zhongwang Group and other companies will put automotive aluminum sheet projects involving over 400,000 tons into operation in China in 2015-2016, then China’s automotive aluminum sheet capacity will attain up to 550,000 tons / a. In the next few years, China’s automotive aluminum alloy market size is expected to grow at a rate of about 20% in the wake of the enhanced trend of automotive lightweight.
The report includes the following aspects: Status quo, market supply and demand, competition pattern and development forecast of China's automotive steel industry; Market supply and demand, competition pattern and development forecast of China’s automotive aluminum alloy industry; Market supply and demand, competition pattern and development forecast of China’s automotive magnesium alloy industry; Operation, automotive materials-related business and development forecast of four global and 11 Chinese automotive steel/aluminum alloy/magnesium alloy companies.
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