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Global automotive composites market to grow faster than automotive market until decade-end

Global automotive composites market to grow faster than automotive market until decade-end

The global automotive composites market was valued at US$3062.7 mln in 2014, and is expected to increase to US$7019.7 mln by 2022 at a CAGR of 8.8%, as per Persistence Market Research. Asia-Pacific was the largest market for automotive composites in 2014, accounting for 50.8% market share, followed by Europe and North America, with 22.7% and 15.5% share respectively. The Asia-Pacific market is expected to account for 52.4% by 2022. Rising domestic automotive production, especially in developing countries such as India and China, is expected to boost the Asia Pacific automotive composite market. Increasing urban population due to rising industrialization, particularly in developing countries such as India and China, is encouraging the establishment of automotive manufacturing facilities in these regions. Increasing automobile production is expected to fuel the overall demand for carbon composites in the near future. In 2014, 16.5 mln vehicles were manufactured in USA, compared to 15.6 mln in 2013. This number is expected to increase to 17 mln by the end of 2015. In addition, increasing carbon emissions due to rising number of vehicles over the last few decades is prompting governments worldwide to revamp various aspects in order to adhere to environmental norms and regulations, particularly with emphasis on reduction of carbon emissions from vehicles. Automakers are focused towards using lightweight materials to manufacture external and internal parts of vehicles in order to reduce vehicle weight, and in turn improve fuel efficiency. This is a major factor driving growth of the automotive composites market. Additionally, consumers are more inclined towards purchasing lightweight and fuel-efficient vehicles due to increasing fuel prices over the last decade. This is influencing automakers to invest in R&D initiatives with regard to lightweight materials to manufacture exterior as well as interior parts of vehicles. Composites with properties such as easy to process, high tensile strength, lightweight, good corrosion resistance and surface tension are ideal for manufacturing lightweight and fuel-efficient vehicles. Asia-Pacific is the largest market for automotive composites. Increasing domestic production of vehicles along with increasing disposable income is driving growth of the automotive composites market in Asia Pacific. However, one of the major factors contributing to growth of the automotive composites markets in North America and Europe is stringent CO2 emission norms in these regions.

As per Visiongain, total revenue from the automotive composites market in 2013 reached US$9.6 bln in 2014. Composites are fibre-reinforced materials; they are more durable than traditional materials, are corrosion resistant, can withstand higher loads and are lighter. Due to these factors composites need to be replaced less often than components made from traditional materials, and in automotive applications they save energy as they are less dense than traditional materials. The reduced weight of composite compared to traditional, usually steel and aluminium, components is the biggest advantage in the automotive industry. However, more advanced in-vehicle technology and safety features have been making cars heavier for decades. Car makers have generally been able to improve engine efficiency at a faster rate than weight augmentation. Consequently cars have become more fuel efficient despite also becoming heavier. Rise of oil prices and the resulting high running costs of cars in addition to environmental concerns have, nevertheless, put a stronger focus on efficiency. Higher efficiency results in lower fuel consumption and lower carbon dioxide emissions for comparable performance. Stricter emission regulations are increasing the need for even more advanced and expensive technologies. Lightweighting through the use of advanced composites is one of the key methods automotive manufactures are using to reduce vehicle weight and improve fuel efficiency. The market will grow as opportunities for light-weighting, requirements for fuel efficiency and global regulations for emission reduction drive the increment of composites' penetration into passenger cars. The Automotive Composites market is therefore forecasted by Visiongain to record growth over the forecast period 2014-2024 accelerating faster that the global automotive market due to increasing demands for fuel efficiency. Growth in the automotive composites market is mainly driven by four factors:
Firstly, the constant demand for fuel-efficient vehicles, by reducing weight which reduces running costs and fuel consumption, will enhance the penetration of Composites into the Automotive sector due to their light-weight and stiffness.
Secondly, environmental regulations for low carbon emissions-in the EU, the 2015 target for fleet average CO2 emissions of 130g/km and the 2020 target for 95g/km and the Corporate Average Fuel Economy in the US- dictate more fuel efficient vehicles from 2015 onwards.
Thirdly, 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.
Fourthly, 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 all Automotive applications. These drivers create opportunities for light-weighting, fuel efficiency and emission reduction through the usage of Automotive composites and will fuel growth throughout 2014-24. However, the market needs to overcome the high cost of Automotive Composites such as carbon fibre, difficulties in repairing and recycling and the strong competition from steel companies in order for Automotive Companies to increase their penetration into the high-volume medium and low-end vehicles.’’

As per Lucintel, the global composite materials shipment in automotive industry was estimated at 3.6 bln lbs in 2012, and is likely to grow with a CAGR of 6% in next 6 years to reach 5.1 bln lbs in 2018. Composite materials accounted for ~1.1% of the global automotive materials market in 2012, an average consumption of ~45 lbs per vehicle. In 2012, glass fiber composites dominated with 91.8% of the total composite materials in automotive industry, followed by natural fiber composites with 7.6% and carbon fiber composites with remaining 0.6%. CAFÉ standards of 36.6 mpg by 2017 and 54.5 mpg by 2025, EU mandate of CO2 emission to the level of 130 g/km by 2015 and 95g/km by 2020, passenger safety concern and parts consolidation are the major drivers of composite materials in the auto industry. Improved powertrain, aerodynamic design, and increased use of lightweight materials are the major areas for improving fuel efficiency and mitigating CO2 emission. Reduction in vehicle mass by 10% improves fuel efficiency by 6.5%. Glass fiber composites is likely to remain aligned with its domain (exterior, interior, and under the hood) and gain more market share in coming years. Short fiber thermoplastic (SFT) is likely to remain leading type of glass composites in coming years, mainly driven by small complex shaped components in under the hood applications. Increasing use of natural fiber composites in major applications such as door panel and seat backs are expected to drive the market in coming years. Carbon composites have excellent weight saving potential than other materials but price is very high (CF price is 10-12 times higher than that of HSS). Ongoing R&D on mitigating carbon fiber cost and improving part fabrication cycle time to the desired level. In the last 10 years, CFRP gained momentum in monocoque application in sports, luxury and electric vehicles. Challenges with carbon composites: Low awareness towards benefits of carbon composites, high cost, high cycle time.

As per MarketsandMarkets, the global automotive composite market in terms of value is projected to witness a CAGR of 8.5% between 2014 and 2019 to reach a value of US$7142.37 mln. Carbon fiber reinforced polymer composite registered a CAGR of 22.03% in terms of value and is witnessing the fastest growth in the overall automotive composite market. The key factors contributing to the growth of this market are constant need of fuel efficient cars, stringent environment regulations, increased demand from electric & hybrid vehicles, and introduction of various new models with broad usage of automotive composite. Environmental regulations for low CO2 emissions and fuel efficiency in Europe and the U.S. dictate more fuel efficient vehicles from 2015 onwards. Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) raised the standards in the U.S., requiring automakers to raise the average fuel efficiency of new cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, and in the European Union, new CO2 emissions restrictions, which will reduce passenger cars emission limits from 130g of CO2/km today to 95g CO2/km in 2020.

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