Success of the automotive industry is directly influencing demand for automotive elastomers

The global market for automotive non-tire elastomers is projected to grow at a CAGR of 4.2% from 2016 to 2021, outpacing the growth of the global automotive industry, due to the increased use of elastomers in automotive applications.

With increasing trends amongst the global automotive constructors to downsize engines, reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions, engines need to generate higher horsepower to compensate. The new Smithers Rapra report – The Future of Automotive Elastomers to 2021 – explores these trends and the new demands placed on elastomers to withstand higher temperatures and resist chemical attack in order to last the lifecycle of the vehicle.  

The growth of automotive elastomers is moving faster than that of the total vehicle market, which explains the expected CAGR of 4.2%. However, the success of automotive elastomers depends primarily on their acceptance and growth of the global automotive industry. This means not only the automotive constructors, but also the myriad of components’ suppliers, particularly those belonging to the Tier 1 group. Equally, the economic health of any country and region will have a major impact on the supply and demand of motor vehicles, which will have a knock-on effect on the automotive component suppliers.

Patrick Ellis report author

The advent of the electric and the electric hybrid vehicle is changing the growth rate of the automotive elastomers market in comparison to that of the vehicle market somewhat, which may likely see a change in the use of high performance elastomers. This is hopefully counterbalanced by an increase in electrically associated applications, such as lighting, cables, lightweight batteries, and polymer-based electric motors. Automotive construction will have to move away from steel at an increased rate if the operating range of electric vehicles is to be considered as competitive as internal-combustion powered vehicles. The operating range of electric vehicles could be increased by the establishment of battery charging stations. This will involve a dramatic increase in the use of elastomers for the production of the heavy duty cables required by fast-charging systems. This is all some way off, since it is more difficult to change infrastructures than build a new automotive plant.

As expected, the Asian/Pacific region represents the largest market, with a share of 44% in 2012, rising to 46% in 2016 and ending up with just over 48% in 2021. While China has been largely responsible for the initial growth of the Asian/Pacific automotive market, other countries such as India, Indonesia, and Thailand are also making substantial contributions to the future growth. It follows that these latter countries will also become more involved in the production of automotive elastomer components in the future. Japan and South Korea will continue to occupy second and third place in the Asian/Pacific region.

The Future of Automotive Elastomers to 2021 is guided by primary research and supported by extensive industry data, both of which underpins our appraisal of existing market conditions and our forecasting. The primary research was based on interviews with industry personnel across the value chain, including leading suppliers, manufactures and end users. Discussions with industry influencers supplemented this research. Secondary research was founded on an extensive literature review of market and company reports, magazines and journal abstracts, trends, and market information.


The Future of Automotive Elastomers to 2021 is available for £4,200.
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