Automotive Plastic holds the key to a host of safety and performance advancement in modern cars, minivan, SUVs and even HMVs. Automotive plastics are generally durable, strong, recyclable, scratch resistance, resistance to abrasion, improve vibration and noise control and allows design, molding and integration of components in automobiles. In modern cars plastic constitute almost 50% of the total volume of the car but contribute only 10% of the total weight of cars which makes cars lighter and increase the overall fuel efficiency. Modern automotive plastic however have much broader application including passenger safety, passenger convenience and overall manufacturing cost reduction. Automotive plastic are used in bumpers seats, dashboard, fuel systems, body panels, under-bonnet components, interior trim, electrical components, exterior trim, lighting, upholstery and liquid reservoirs. Further, the developments in the field of tough and durable automotive plastic are expected to increase use of plastic in modern cars. As for interiors, plastics have proven to be a great material for making comfortable, durable and aesthetically gratifying interior components.
Based on the technology, automobile plastic are broadly categorized as polypropylene polyurethanes (PU), poly-vinyl-chloride (PVC), polyamide (PA), polystyrene (PS), polyethylene (PE), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), composites, high density polyethylene (HDPE), polycarbonates (PC), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), acrylonitrile styrene acrylate (ASA) and polybutylene terephthalate (PBT). Among these, polypropylene (PP) holds majority of market share attributed to its wide acceptance in automotives industries. It is followed by polyurethanes (PU) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS).
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Asia Pacific is the largest market for automotive plastic followed by Europe and North America. Higher concentrations of passenger vehicle manufacturing industries and growing demand of passenger cars, three-wheeler and two wheelers in China and some of the other countries of Asia Pacific such as India and Japan are contributing to the industry growth. Germany and Italy are the leading manufacturers of passenger vehicle in Europe whereas the U.S. accounts for single largest market in North America.
The key drivers of automotive plastics markets are potential of automotive plastic in mass reduction of fuel consumption by reducing the overall weight of the vehicle, increasing prices of iron and steels and improved strength and durability of modern automotive plastic. The major factors restraining the growth of market are high material cost and increasing investment in plastics-alternative material research (such as carbon fibers) especially by automobile companies. The opportunities for automotive plastic is cited in the development of new materials such as polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), Lighted PP, blended thermoplastic materials, biodegradable plastics and reinforced composites such as “GB 266 WG”, a hard, light material with perfect heat resistance and mechanical properties, suitable for automotive parts used in high stress areas
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The major players in automotive plastic market include, Akzo Nobel N.V., BASF SE, Bayer MaterialScience AG, Borealis AG, Evonik Industries AG, Grupo Antolin-Irausa S.A., Hanwha Azdel Inc., Johnson Controls Inc., Lear Corporation, Magna International Inc-, Momentive Performance Materials Inc., Owens Corning, the Quadrant group of companies, Koninklijke DSM N.V., Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), TEIJIN LIMITED, The Dow Chemical Company and Zoltek Companies Inc.