The United Arab Emirates automotive composites market is anticipated to register a CAGR of over 13% during the forecast period (2020 - 2025).
- Presently, composite materials, like thermoplastics and reinforced glass, have drawn the attention of carmakers, making them focus on sourcing better, tensile, and lighter components in the manufacture of automobile units.
- Factors such as increasing demand for lightweight material from the automotive industry and growing focus on fuel economy are expected to be major drivers for the market. However, high costs associated with carbon fiber composites, and glass fiber composites is hindering the growth of the market, as their usage in low-cost vehicles could drastically increase the prices of such vehicles.
- The low recyclability of composites is also a restraint for their penetration in entry-level passenger vehicles. However, collaborations of the OEMs with suppliers (due to rising demand for fuel-efficient vehicles, growing lightweight electrical vehicle segment, and major automobile giants, like BMW and Nissan, trying to replace their existing metal parts with composite fibers) imply the scope and booming opportunity that the market is anticipated to offer over the forecast period.
Key Market Trends
Growing Demand for Lightweight Materials
The automotive industry has been focusing on vehicle weight for decades as vehicle weight have direct impact on driving dynamics and fuel consumption. Due to the high cost of potential lightweight solutions and consumers’ limited willingness to pay for weight reduction in automotive, the use of costly lightweight materials has so far been limited.
As governments from around the world are implementing stringent emission regulations and even are planning to set even higher emissions standards in the coming years, the importance of lightweight materials will increase.
In a typical automobile, the use of fibers is 50% by volume, while adding just 10% to the weight. In the United States, regulations mandate that by 2025, the average fuel economy standard must meet 54.5 miles per gallon.
- As per the US Department of Energy (DOE), reducing the weight of vehicles by 10% yields an increase of 6-8% in fuel economy.
- As a result, companies have started using materials like carbon fiber and glass fiber composites to make vehicles lightweight and fuel-efficient.
- The usage of glass fiber composites aids in reducing vehicle by 25%.
Apart from carbon fiber, automobile manufacturers have been using glass fiber composites in the manufacturing of numerous automotive components.
- For instance, 2017 Mini Countryman features an interior panel carrier, uses high flow concentrate long glass fiber-reinforced polypropylene (LGFPP) material (STAMAX resin) from SABIC. The part is ~15% lighter in weight than if made from solid plastic.
With the demand for lightweight vehicles increasing rapidly in developing economies, the market for carbon fiber composites is projected to grow at a fast pace during the forecast period.
UAE Leading the automotive composite Market in Middle-East
The Middle-East automotive composite market is led by UAE followed by Saudi Arabia. The demand for lightweight material is growing rapidly in the region due to the growing automotive industry and emission regulations. For instance, In UAE the automotive industry is expanding rapidly, with a rise in the income level of consumers. In addition, the demand for lighter vehicles has increased with awareness about fuel efficiency and environmental benefits. With the rapid growth in manufacturing capacities in the country, the consumption of carbon fiber composites is expected to increase during the forecast period.
Emission legislation regulations in the United States and Europe have forced automobile manufacturers to restrict the exhaust levels of their vehicles. Vehicles in the European region have started to adapt to Euro 6 norms, and other regions have also started to follow suit. The higher standards (which are for controlling the emissions) are, in turn, dependent on the weight, combustion, and fuel efficiency of the vehicle and thus are difficult to achieve. Demand for customized cars is on the rise globally, with the younger population showing a keen interest in customizing their cars, as sports and racing cars. In the manufacture of racing cars and luxury sports cars, the thermoset composites have already been widely in use for many years. Together, these factors are expected to drive the market for automobile composites toward exponential growth in the future.
The UAE automotive composites market is consolidated. Companies, such as Toho Tenex (Teijin Ltd), Toray Industries Inc, Mitsubishi Chemical Carbon Fiber and Composites, Inc., and SGL Carbon, are some of the major players in the market studied. Companies are trying to invent new composites that can reduce the total weight of the vehicle to much lower proportions. For instance, in December 2017, BMW celebrated the manufacturing of its 100,000th i3, which features a monocoque that is made from light and stiff, but expensive, carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP).
Not only BMW has adopted CFRP in a mixed-material approach, but its German competitor, Audi, is also using the material to produce the rear wall of the space frame for its A8 luxury sedan. This part provides around 40% of the vehicle’s overall torsional rigidity, making it a suitable candidate for manufacture with CFRP. The part is around 50% lighter in weight than its metallic predecessor.
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