The global automotive plastics market is expected to reach $43.44 billion by 2030, expanding at a rate of 5.2% from 2023 to 2030, according to a new report from Grand View Research Inc. A preference for high-performance plastics as a replacement for conventional metals and rubber is expected to impel market growth.
Key industry insights and findings from the report include:
- Increasing integration of in-car entertainment and communication systems, engine electronics, and advanced safety and driver-assistance systems is boosting demand for electrical component applications, which, in turn, is fueling growth of the North American market;
- The polypropylene segment accounted for the largest revenue share of more than 32% in 2022 and is expected to maintain its lead over the forecast period;
- The interior segment is expected to be the largest over the forecast period owing to rising usage of plastics in interior components including seat covers, steering wheels, and fascia systems.
- The polyurethane product segment is anticipated to witness significant growth over the forecast period because it combines characteristics of plastics and rubber at a lower weight than metal and other plastic materials. Increasing demand from the automotive industry for use in interior trim and seat cushioning is expected.
In September 2021, Adient, a pioneer in automotive seating systems, confirmed a strategic alliance with Covestro to integrate cardyon, a polyol made utilizing Covestro's CO2 technology as a self-sustaining material, in the manufacture of polyurethane foam used as cushioning in automotive seating systems. Cardyon is also used as a raw material by Swiss company FoamPartner to produce foams for various areas in vehicle interiors.
The power train application segment is expected to witness the fastest growth over the forecast period. Increasing applications of plastics in powertrain engineering is expected to support market growth in the coming years. It helps manufacturers reduce weight and integrate complex parts, which ultimately boosts performance and productivity and saves cost.
According to research conducted by DuPont (since acquired by Celanese), current plastics penetration stands at 110 to 120 kilograms (242.5 to 264.5 pounds) per car, depending on engine size and region, and manufacturers are still exploring other opportunities for the use of plastics. A recent American Chemistry Council report cited an even higher figure of 186 kg (410 pounds) of plastic used on average per vehicle in North America in 2021.