Innovations across plastics and polymers providing a big boost to lightweighting
The automotive industry forms a major clientele for engineering plastics, and the usage of advanced plastics has been on a steady increase for cars. The average weight of plastics and polymer composites used in a car is easily above 160 Kgs and is increasing. In terms of volume, these plastics account for more than 50% of the total vehicle volume. Not surprising then that the global automotive plastics market is expected to be over USD50 billion in annual sales value by 2024. The demand is especially high in emerging car economies like China and India, where light weight vehicles and high fuel mileage characteristics have pressed for the higher usage of automotive plastics. Also, the consumer perception of plastic components in these economies is not bad as compared to Europe and USA, where plastics are seen as indicators of cheaper quality. With increasing focus on reducing emissions and hence weight of the component systems, the demand for as well as requirements from the advanced plastics industry have increased significantly. The demand for new and innovative grades of automotive plastics, especially in the USA and Europe, is driven by this hard leash of vehicular emissions control, pushing OEMs and vendors to scope for lighter but stronger material alternatives for components.