The global Automotive Composites market is segmented into two submarkets:
By the type of Composite Materials: Polymer Matrix Composites (PMC), Metal Matrix Composites (MMC), and Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMC)
By the type of Composite components, interior components, body components, engine and drivetrain components and other components.
As per a report published by Visiongain, the global Automotive Composites market will be worth US$9.6 bln in 2014, as opportunities for light-weighting, requirements for fuel efficiency and global regulations for emission reduction drive the increase of composite penetration in passenger cars. The Automotive Composites market is therefore forecast to record growth over the forecast period 2014-2024 faster than the global automotive market due to increasing demands for fuel efficiency. Growth in the Automotive Composites Market is mainly driven by four factors:
* The constant demand for fuel efficient vehicles, mainly to reduce weight, which reduces running costs and fuel consumption, has resulted in the penetration of Composites into the Automotive sector due to their lightness and stiffness.
* Environmental regulations for low CO2 emissions and fuel efficiency in the EU and the US dictate more fuel efficient vehicles from 2015 onwards. In the EU, the 2015 target for fleet average CO2 emissions of 130g/km and the 2020 target for 95g/km aim to reduce the average vehicle CO2 emission by 18% and 40% from 2007 respectively. In the US, the Obama administration released even higher Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards in 2012, requiring automakers to raise the average fuel efficiency of new cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The CAFE program aims to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions which will result in saving more than US$1.7 trillion at the gas pump and the reduction of U.S. oil consumption by 12 billion barrels. Automakers have responded to the low emission regulations with the reduction of the vehicle's weight with the usage of composite components, as well as with downsizing engines in the low and medium segment.
* The increased demand for electric and hybrid vehicles in which composites' usage for light-weighting is of essence, has turned automakers' focus to light-weight Composite Materials as a substitute for heavier steel and iron in all types of vehicles.
* The introduction of new models with more varied and extensive usage of composites in the period 2015-2020 will substantially increase the production of Composites for Automotive applications.
On the other hand, the high cost of some of the Automotive Composites, especially carbon fibre, and difficulties in repairing and recycling prevent their penetration into the high-volume medium and low-end car segments where cost is of essence. Additionally, the current low-volume production due to existing production techniques and a lack of general engineering experience, results in a higher manufacturing cycle and prevents investments from Automotive manufacturers. Last but not least, the strong position of steel companies in the Automotive sector as the main suppliers of car body, engine and drive train materials, in conjunction with existing heavy investment from auto manufacturers into metal production lines, prevents the easy substitution of metal with composites.
As per Dr. Sanjay Mazumdar, CEO of Lucintel in compositesworld.com, overall, the composite materials market grew in 2013 by 1.7% to reach US$7 bln in value and 4.7 billion lb (2,132 metric tons) in annual shipments. The U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 2.4% in 2013, which will help the US composites market restore confidence again amongst composites part fabricators. Demand in the U.S. composites market is expected to reach US$10.3 bln by 2019, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.6%. Strong growth in the transportation, aerospace and construction sectors is expected to drive this trend. Expectations and projections from the automotive segment indicate that auto sales were projected to reach 15.6 mln vehicles in 2013, from 14.7 mln vehicles in 2012, driven mainly by low interest rates, increasing consumer confidence and vehicle replacement. Composite materials are used in interior headliners, underbody systems, bumper beams and instrumental panels. The demand for composites in the US automotive market grew by 8.8% in 2013. Increase in the use of composite materials in racing and high-performance vehicle components, such as chassis, hoods, wheels and roofs, is one of the driving factors for the increase in composites penetration in the automotive industry.
As automakers work to meet Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) standards of 36.6 mpg by 2017 and 54.5 mpg by 2025, vehicle weight reduction has become a major strategy. For instance, Daimler had set a target to reduce its gross vehicle weight by 10% in all new models by 2013. Similarly, GM and Ford set targets of weight reductions of 15% by 2016 and 250 to 750 lb (113 to 340 kg) by 2020, respectively. The vehicle of greatest immediate interest to the composites industry is the BMW i3, and all-electric, four-door passenger car that features a carbon fiber passenger cell, or Life Module. It’s the first production vehicle (40,000 units/year) to make such significant use of carbon fiber in a relatively high-volume manufacturing environment. The carbon fiber is sourced exclusively from a joint venture of BMW and SGL Group in Moses Lake, Wash.; parts are molded via resin transfer molding (RTM) at BMW’s vehicle manufacturing and assembly facility in Leipzig, Germany. The car entered the European market in late 2013 and is being introduced to the U.S. in spring 2014.