|The global automotive plastics consumption is expected to grow from 6.7 mln tons in 2011 to 10.2 mln tons in 2016 at an estimated CAGR of 8.5% for the same period. The high growth rate is attributable to increasing passenger car production and initiatives by automobile manufacturers towards light-weighting of cars. Global automotive plastics market is mainly driven by passenger car production and increasing utilization of automotive plastics in vehicle designs. A report by Reportlinker.com covers global consumption of seven types of plastics in passenger cars such as polypropylene, polyurethanes, polycarbonates, high density polyethylene (HDPE), polymethyl methacrylate, Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), and composites. The use of plastics in interior, exterior, and under bonnet components of automobiles help in weight reduction, improve aesthetics, vibration and noise control, and cabin insulation. The properties of plastics such as easy mouldability, recyclability, scratch resistance, high volume to weight resistance, thermal stability, impact strength, and resistance to abrasion make them suitable for use in automobiles. Among all the automotive plastics polypropylene leads consumption by 36% followed by polyurethanes (17%), ABS (12%), composites (11%), HDPE (10%), polycarbonates (7%), and PMMA (7%) due their easy forming properties and their availability at cheaper price than other materials.
The plastics to total weight ratio in passenger cars varies between 11% and 14% across all the geographies and according to industry experts this ratio is likely to increase between 3% and 4% in the next five years. As of year 2011, Asia-Pacific leads automotive plastics consumption by 52% followed by Europe (29%), North America (10%), and rest of the world (9%). Major automotive plastics suppliers/producers include Dow Chemical Company, Bayer MaterialScience, Momentive Performance Materials, Akzonobel, and Evonik. The leading consumers of automotive plastics include major automobile manufacturers such as Toyota, Hyundai Motor Company, Mitsubishi, General Motors, Honda, and Peugeot SA.
The main drivers of automotive plastics utilization are their potential for maximum mass reduction of automobile and carbon emission reduction potential by light-weighting of the vehicle. The factors restraining the market are high material cost and huge investment in material research activities by companies. The opportunities are cited in new materials such as reinforced composites and PMMA.
The global passenger car production is dominated by Asia-Pacific region followed by Europe, North America, and rest of the world. The major players in Asia-Pacific region are Toyota (Japan), Hyundai (South Korea), and Honda (Japan). In Europe the major players are Volkswagen (Germany), Peugeot SA (France), Fiat SPA (Italy), and BMW (Germany). In North America major players are General Motors (U.S.) and Ford (U.S.). The passenger car market witnessed slow down from the year 2008 to 2010 and showed signs of recovery in the year 2011. However, deteriorating economic conditions in European region indicate sluggish growth in their automotive sector. The global passenger car production is expected to grow from 60 mln units in 2011 to 84.8 mln units in 2016 at an estimated CAGR of 7.2% for the same period. Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow at higher CAGR of 8.8% due to growing demand in the region triggered by falling auto loan interest rates and increase in disposable income of individuals.