The modern automobile has approx. 30,000 individual parts that come from a diverse array of raw materials and processes. The proportion of automotive plastics has jumped fivefold to 30% today from 6% two decades ago as automotive plastics have transformed vehicle form, functionality, performance, and safety. The automotive industry is the third largest consumer of plastics after the packaging and construction industries with roughly 40 plastic types being deployed in the automotive industry. The role played by automotive plastics has grown significantly as emission and safety norms toughen. Government legislation coupled with consumer desire to ‘go green’ has compelled automakers to invest in lightweight automotive plastics. A 10% weight reduction can improve vehicle fuel efficiency by nearly the same amount making the automotive plastics market essential for tackling global warming.
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Interior Automotive Plastics Play Invaluable Role in Lessening NVH Levels and Weight
Automotive plastics find application in vehicle upholstery, interior and exterior trims, fuel systems, instrument panels, bumpers, lighting, and dashboards. Interior parts and components require the largest volume of automotive plastics in the automotive plastics market with instrument clusters, seat leather upholstery, door consoles and panels, and lighting using automotive plastics. These plastics are cost-effective, minimize noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH), reduce overall weight thereby improving fuel economy. Automotive plastics provide excellent UV stability, chemical, heat and impact resistance making them critical in door handles, panoramic roofs, wheel caps, and bumpers. Automotive plastics can be easily moulded into different shapes and they add an aesthetic appeal and smooth finish to the car.
Focus on Polycarbonate for Maximum Profitability in Automotive Plastics Market
According to experts, several engineered plastics such as polyethylene, polyurethane, polyamides polycarbonate, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) are used in vehicles. The most common materials are PVC, polyurethane and polypropylene and these comprise 3/5th of the total demand in 2019. As mass electrification becomes the norm, the demand for polyurethane, polycarbonate, and polypropylene is anticipated to rise with polycarbonate the primary beneficiary in the electric vehicle landscape. Polycarbonate is ideally suited to cater to the need of EV battery thermal management and integration of LIDAR sensors. Conversely, demand for ABS is on track to decline during the forecast period as other composites perform better in high-end luxury cars that necessitate the highest level of quality and design.
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Subsidies Allow Europe to Remain Largest Per Capita Consumer of Automotive Plastics
The APAC region is far and away the largest producer in the automotive plastics market with more than half of global production concentrated in China, India, Japan, and Korea. However, per capita automotive plastic consumption is considerably lower than in North America. As incomes rise in APAC nations, they should shift towards luxury cars that require lightweight, high-quality automotive plastics.
Companies Attempting to Reduce Environmental Emissions by Developing Bioplastics
The automotive plastics market is intensely competitive with companies prioritizing product innovation to develop blended plastics or bioplastics to reduce their carbon footprint. There is massive demand for high temperature resistant automotive plastics in the under the hood segment with SABIC launching XENOY HTX resin in 2019 to cater to this.
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