The International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA) recorded that a total of 21,787,126 commercial vehicles and 55,834,456 cars were manufactured in 2020. The manufacturers of these vehicles are increasingly shifting from heavy metals to lightweight plastics for vehicle interiors, to reduce the overall vehicle weight. The reduction of the vehicle weight helps in enhancing the fuel efficiency. With the rising awareness on the alarming air pollution levels and depleting fossil fuel reserves, customers are increasingly opting for lightweight vehicles.
Thus, the booming demand for lightweight vehicles will add to the prosperity of the automotive plastics market in the foreseeable future. Automakers use polybutylene terephthalate, polyurethane, polypropylene, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, polyvinyl chloride, polycarbonate, high-density polyethylene, and polyamide to reduce the automobile weight. In the coming years, automobile manufacturers will adopt a significant volume of polypropylene due to the high durability, excellent flexibility, and exceptional abrasion resistance exhibited by it.
At present, automobile manufacturers are using all these materials in the exterior, chassis, electrical components, powertrain, and under-bonnet components, apart from the interiors. In the forthcoming years, the largest volume of automotive plastics will be used in the interior of vehicles, owing to the exceptional aesthetic appearance offered by them. Plastics are used in the production of seats and storage areas owing to their ability to reduce vibration in case of vehicle collisions. The shock absorbing properties of automotive plastics also help in mitigating the number of road accident cases.
Automakers across the world are procuring plastics from Covestro AG, Magna International Inc., Lear Corporation, Adient plc, SABIC, Borealis AG, BASF SE, Quadrant AG, Teijin Limited, Akzo Nobel N.V., Evonik Industries, and Hanwha Azdel Inc. These companies use three major techniques to produce these materials: injection molding, thermoforming, and blow molding. The rapid advancements in vehicle designing, owing to the evolving needs of customers and growing preference and transition toward aesthetically appealing vehicle interiors, are creating a huge requirement for automotive plastics worldwide.
According to P&S Intelligence, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) automotive plastics market is expected to advance at the highest rate in the upcoming years, owing to the presence of a vast manufacturing base in India, China, Thailand, Indonesia, and South Korea and the availability of affordable transportation options and cheap raw material in China. Additionally, the increasing focus of automobile manufacturers on shifting their production base from North America and Europe to Thailand, Vietnam, and China, owing to the availability of low-cost labor in such countries, accelerates the production and consumption of automotive plastics here.
Thus, the burgeoning demand for lightweight vehicles and increasing customer preference for aesthetically appealing vehicle interiors will fuel the consumption of plastics for auto production across the world.
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