The Africa and Middle-East Automotive automotive glass fiber composites market is expected to register a CAGR of over 4.5%, during the forecast period, 2020 - 2025.
- The major growth drivers of this market are the rise in automotive production and the increasing demand for durable and lightweight materials because of stringent government regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The future of the global automotive glass fiber composites market looks bright with opportunities in different automobile applications, such as interiors, exteriors, structural assembly, powertrain and engine components, electrical and electronics, and others.
- For a continent with 1 billion inhabitants, Africa only occupies 1% of the global new car sales. Also, 85% of the total new cars are sold in South Africa. The sub-Saharan region where there is a potential for upto 3-4 million vehicles from the existing number of around 425,000 is expected to offer high returns to players who are willing to seriously enter the region. The level of infrastructure is also increasing in Africa, which is likely to aid the automotive market of the region.
- Strategic alliances between car manufacturers, glass fiber, and resin suppliers are the trends that have a direct impact on the dynamics of the automotive composites industry. Within the intermediates type, short fiber thermoplastic (SFT), long fiber thermoplastic (LFT), and continuous fiber thermoplastic (CFT) are the major ones that are used in automotive applications. SFT is expected to be the largest market by value, mainly driven by applications in powertrain and engine components applications, which feature small complex-shaped parts.
Key Market Trends
Increasing Adoption of Glass Fiber Composites in Automobiles
Although automobiles have been around for more than a century, the materials they are made of have mostly remained the same. Only since the past few decades that advanced materials, ranging from magnesium alloys to glass fiber composites, have made their way into new-generation cars. Advanced materials, such as glass fiber composites, are essential for boosting modern cars' fuel economy and maintaining performance and safety. Since it takes lesser energy to accelerate a lighter object than a heavier one, lightweight materials offer great potential for increasing vehicle efficiency. A 10% reduction in the vehicle's weight can transpire to a 6-8% increase in fuel economy.
Manufacturers reduce overall vehicle weight, which lowers the energy required to operate the vehicle, increasing fuel economy. The Body-In-White system is the critical focal point for automakers looking for fuel savings because of its weight reduction potential, importance to crash safety, and impact on compounded weight reduction for other sub-systems, such as the powertrain.
Glass fiber composites are materials that have become popular in the past few years. One of the reasons for the fiberglass composite's relative success is that it has several advantages over steel. It is corrosion-resistant, has significant chemical resistance, and is lightweight (three times less dense than steel). Fiberglass composite is mainly used in bumpers, hoods, and casings. Another area where this material is used is V-belts and timing belts, where glass strings are impregnated with rubber acting as reinforcement. Abrasion resistance is one other advantage of the fiberglass composite, which is why it is used for producing clutches and brake pads. Clutch disks are reinforced with woven fiberglass composites to maintain their integrity.
The African Market Has High Growth Prospects
Companies are expected to benefit from reforms and policies after the formation of the Association of African Automotive Manufacturers (AAAM). For instance, any car company that sets up a local assembly plant in Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana, could get tax holidays of up to 10 years and duty exemptions.
In the early 2010s, the automotive industry in Africa is plagued by the import of used cars from other countries. For instance, in Japan, where strict vehicle inspections force cars out of circulation after just a few years, vehicles are exported to African countries. However, today, second-hand vehicles in countries in Ethiopia are hugely limited due to high import duties and limited supply of vehicles pushing for newer automotive and EPS manufacturing factories.
Morocco's integration into the global economy was facilitated by the signing of numerous free trade agreements with the European Union and the United States. These trade agreements contributed positively to the emergence of export activities in the country. Also, the country developed an investment cluster program, which saw Renault enter the local market. Renault will be the only global automaker assembling vehicles in the country, until the arrival of Peugeot in 2019.
For instance, in 2019, Ethiopia is Africa's fastest-growing economy with the continent's second-largest population. Ethiopia's automotive potential is underpinned by the state-driven economy and a government that is geared toward industrialization. Bishoftu Automotive Industry (BAI), an automotive manufacturing and assembly company run by the Ethiopian military. BAI specializes in assembling, upgrading, overhauling, and localizing buses, pick-ups, SUVs, trucks, and military equipment such as tanks and armored personnel carriers (APCs). As a result, Ethiopia generated the most interest among automotive players as a future market in Africa.
The India automotive glass fiber composites market is fragmented with existing market players such as Solvay Group, 3B (Braj Binani Group), Owens Corning, Veplas Group, and SAERTEX GmbH and Co.KG, who holds the most significant shares. To have the edge over its competitors' companies are making joint-ventures, partnerships, launching new products with advanced technology.
For instance, In June 2019, Morocco saw its first African plant in the city of Kenitra. This new facility will manufacture Electric Power Steering (EPS) systems for Group PSA, as well as Driveline systems for FCA, Groupe PSA, and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. The company expects to hire around 500 people at the Kenitra plant by 2020.
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