Plastics find major applications in electrical components and interior and exterior furnishings of automobiles. The majority of the application market for automotive plastics is under the purview of these two application segments accounting for almost 70% of the total consumption, as per Transparency Market Research. Plastics are also used in other parts in automobiles such as power trains, under the hood and chassis. The market for these applications is expected to show growth over the forecast period. Polypropylene (PP) has been the most widely used plastic in automobiles in recent years and is expected to hold sway for the entirety of the forecast period till 2018. Polyurethane (PU), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyethylene (PE) are the other major plastic materials that have been in great demand in automobile manufacturing. Polycarbonate (PC), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), polyamides (PA) such as nylons and other plastics including polyoxymethylene (POM) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are also in great demand in various automotive applications. Biodegradable plastics are a more environment friendly option to plastics sourced from crude oil and derivatives. After a certain time period these plastics begin their degradation process and are easy to dispose without causing adverse effects on the environment. Starch based and polylactic acid (PLA) based biodegradable plastics have been the most common materials used in the automotive industry. Newer biodegradable plastics such as PHA, PCL and PBS are being used in small quantities for automotive applications. Biodegradable plastics have been analyzed separately as a potential opportunity, the estimates for these plastics have not been included in the overall market estimate and have been provided separately.
Traditionally, although North America and Europe have been the biggest markets for plastics in automobiles, Asia Pacific has been the largest consumer of automotive plastics in recent years. This can be attributed to the tremendous growth in the automotive industry in the region and the huge and apparent never-ending demand for automobiles in many economies of Asia Pacific. Europe has been the second largest market for automotive plastics followed by North America and Rest of the World (RoW).