Global automotive plastics market is expected to grow on account of increasing preference for plastics as a substitute to metals in automotive components. Automotive plastics are widely used in motorcycles, passenger cars and heavy vehicles with an aim to reduce the overall weight of automobiles. Reduction in weight significantly improves fuel efficiency of vehicles. This trend is expected to fuel the demand for automotive plastics over the forecast period. Supporting this trend is government regulations regarding improving fuel efficiency and reducing the weight of vehicles. Increasing demand for passenger cars on account of increasing income levels in emerging markets across the globe is expected to fuel automotive production. This in turn is expected to drive the demand for automotive plastics. Plastics are ideal materials to reduce noise and vibrations in automobiles. Increasing preference for sophisticated automobiles is expected to boost the demand for automotive plastics for such applications. Improving aesthetics and reducing the overall cost of product has driven manufacturers in the market to adopt plastics owing to its cost effectiveness compared to metals and alloys. This is expected to have a positive impact on the market.
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Volatile raw material costs and high capital investments is expected to pose challenges to market participants. Most plastics are non-biodegradable in nature, which makes them hazardous to environment. Growing concerns regarding environmental effects associated with plastics may act as a hindrance to market growth. Manufacturers in the market are shifting focus on developing bio-based plastics for automotive applications in order to counter the environmental effects caused by conventional plastics. This is expected to provide market participants opportunities in terms of product development.
Polypropylene based automotive plastic was the dominant product segment for automotive plastics market. Abundant availability of raw materials coupled with its low cost compared to other plastics such as high density polyethylene, polycarbonate and other composites can be attributed to high demand for polypropylene in the market. This factor is expected to further drive polypropylene demand to make it the fastest growing product segment over the forecast period. Polyurethane followed polypropylene to emerge as the second largest product segment.
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Automotive plastics are widely used to manufacture interior parts, exterior parts and engine compartments. Interior applications of plastics include door panels, instrument clusters, wiring covers etc. Interior application was the dominant application segment for the market owing to vehicle manufacturers’ preference for plastics to improve interior aesthetic appearance and lower manufacturing costs. Exterior applications include bumpers, mirror covers and under the bonnet applications. Increasing importance to reduce vehicle weight is expected to fuel the demand for automotive plastics in exterior applications.
Asia Pacific is major regional market for automotive plastics. The market in the region is characterized by huge domestic automotive manufacturing industry and growing demand for automotives in emerging markets of India and China. Low manufacturing costs coupled with presence large scale skilled workforce has driven automotive manufacturing over the past few years. On account of these factors, Asia Pacific automotive plastics market is expected to be the fastest growing region. European and North American markets are characterized by stringent regulatory scenario regarding the reduction of vehicle weight.
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