Lightweight materials for electric cars: new Ceresana study on the European market for plastics in the automotive sector  

The rapid electrification of automotive transport, which is being promoted by numerous countries, is a challenge for the automotive industry, but also for many other sectors: Vehicle manufacturers are not only the main customers for steel, glass, and tire rubber, but increasingly also for plastics. Even small changes in the raw materials that are used can have significant economic effects. In 2020, around 14.3 million new passenger cars were registered in Europe. In 2017, this figure even exceeded 18 million units. The market research company Ceresana has now specifically examined the European market for plastics used in passenger cars.

Market Study: Automotive Plastics - Europe

Plastics instead of Steel in Vehicles

Electric drives use far fewer components than internal combustion engines, and they also change the requirements for raw materials: Less heat in the engine compartment means, for example, that cheaper polymers can be used in some places instead of metals and expensive engineering plastics. Lightweight plastic parts are preferred in electric cars as a way of compensating for the weight of the batteries, which is still a problem. Although the autonomous and fully connected car is still a vision of the future, the number of electrical displays and sensors is already growing steadily. Even batteries contain a lot of plastic in the form of rolled or folded films.

Complex Mobility Market

The demand for plastics for passenger cars is subject to many different factors. First and foremost is the number of new vehicles produced, which plummeted temporarily in the wake of the Covid 19 pandemic. In addition to the production of new vehicles, other key figures also determine the plastic consumption of the automotive sector in a given country, such as the current number of passenger cars and the number of driven kilometers. The average age of cars determines, for example, the demand for plastic spare parts, which are needed for repairs. Car sharing and new mobility concepts also have an impact on car sales.

Polypropylene in Pole Position

The most widely used automotive plastic is polypropylene (PP), which is used, for example, for bumpers and lighting. For polyethylene (PE), the trend towards electric cars may become a threat: the grades HDPE, LDPE, and LLDPE are used in combustion cars, especially in the engine compartment and for fuel systems. PUR, on the other hand, is mainly used for seats and upholstery. This latest study by Ceresana also analyzes market data for ABS, PA, PVC, PC, PMMA, as well as other plastics used in the automotive industry. The market data also takes into account the different application areas and fuel types. The study includes all plastic components that are manufactured by suppliers or vehicle manufacturers and then installed in passenger cars, both for new vehicles and for replacement parts.

The Study in Brief:

Chapter 1 provides an overview of the European market for plastics used in passenger cars, including forecasts up to 2030. It provides data on consumption (broken down by individual types of plastic, application areas, and fuel types) as well as revenues.

Chapter 2 presents comprehensive market data for 19 individual countries in Europe, i.e. demand and revenues for each country. Demand is presented in detail for the different types of plastics (PP, PE, PUR, ABS, PA, PVC, PC, PMMA, and other plastics as an aggregate), areas of application (seats and upholstery, interior trim, dashboard, bumpers and lighting, exterior trim and panels, under the hood and fuel system, electrical & electronics and others). A distinction is also made according to the type of powertrain: internal combustion engine (ICE), battery electric drive (BEV) and plug-in hybrids (PHEV).

Chapter 3 features company profiles of the most important manufacturers of automotive plastics. This useful information is clearly arranged according to contact information, revenues, profit, product portfolio, production sites, and a profile summary. It provides 78 profiles of manufacturers, such as Arkema S.A., BASF SE, Borouge Pte Ltd Abu Dhabi, Braskem S.A., Covestro AG, DuPont (E.I.) De Nemours, Kuraray Co., Ltd., LG Chem Ltd., LyondellBasell Industries, Sasol Limited, SIBUR Holding OAO, and Solvay S.A.

About Ceresana

As one of the world's leading market research institutes, Ceresana is specialized in the segments chemicals, plastics, packaging, and industrial goods with a focus on automotive / mobility. Companies have been benefiting from our high-quality industry analyses and forecasts since 2002. More than 200 market studies provide more than 10,000 customers around the world with the knowledge for their sustainable success.
Learn more about Ceresana at www.ceresana.com

Further Information:
Ceresana
Mainaustrasse 34, 78464 Konstanz, Germany
Tel.: +49 7531 9429 70
Press Contact: Martin Ebner, m.ebner@ceresana.com