Global Automotive Lightweight Materials Market Size, Share, Industry Trends and Forecast 2027

Automotive Lightweight Materials Market

The automotive lightweight materials market is projected to grow from USD 73.9 billion in 2022 to USD 101.5 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 6.5% for the same period. The base year for the report is 2021, and the forecast period is from 2022 to 2027.

The automotive lightweight materials market is expected to grow mainly due to increasing stringency in emission norms and the rising bar for fuel-efficient vehicles. OEMs are moving towards using aluminium & carbon fibre to make vehicles lighter. The increasing demand for high-range electric vehicles is also a key factor driving the demand for lightweight materials. With the advent of electric vehicles, conventional vehicle components such as the fuel tank and the engine will be replaced by battery and electronic components, which would not only replace the conventional income sources but also create new revenue opportunities for material suppliers.

The passenger cars segment is projected to account for the largest share during the forecast period.

The passenger car segment is estimated to contribute the largest to the automotive lightweight materials market. According to the primary experts, the passenger cars segment has considerable scope for employing lightweight materials across different applications such as interiors, body-in-white, closures, etc. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, a 10% reduction in vehicle weight can improve fuel economy by 6-8%. On the other hand, the stringent targets set by government bodies such as the European Commission proposed a 55% cut in CO2 emissions from passenger cars by 2030, much higher than the current target of a 37.5% reduction in CO2 emissions in 2021. Such targets are making OEMs invest in lightweight passenger cars and making them lighter and more fuel-efficient. In passenger cars, the conventional materials are being replaced by high-strength steel (HSS), magnesium & titanium alloys, aluminum, carbon fiber, and composites, which can directly reduce the weight of the vehicle body and chassis by up to 50%. The lightweight materials, including HSS, aluminum, plastics, CFRP, and others, are expected to aid the development of lightweight passenger vehicles significantly. For instance, lightweight metals such as HSS and aluminum are key materials in advanced lightweight frames and chassis. Most of the OEMs incorporate these materials in their body in white structures. Lightweight plastics are mainly used in the interior of vehicles, such as seats, dashboards, instrument panels, and others. These plastics are an excellent choice for both weight and cost reduction.

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Furthermore, lightweight CFRP composites are used in performance and premium passenger vehicles. These composites are relatively expensive but can offer an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. With such advantages, it is estimated that the HSS, aluminum, and plastics have a good demand for the components such as frames, chassis, seats and instrument panels in the North American and Asia Pacific regions over the forecast period.

The metals segment would dominate the automotive lightweight materials market over the forecast period.

Metals, composites, plastics, and elastomers are the key lightweight materials used in an automobile. Lightweight metals, including HSS, aluminum, and magnesium alloys, are used in the chassis and wheel design. According to the US Department of Energy, using advanced materials and lightweight components in highly efficient engines will save 5 billion gallons of fuel annually for fleet drivers in 2030. For instance, the usage of lightweight metals such as magnesium will result in a mass reduction of 30-70%, and other lightweight metals such as titanium will have a 40-55% reduction, HSS will offer a 10-28% reduction, and aluminum will result in a 30-60% of overall mass reduction respectively. For instance, according to the primary experts, Maruti Suzuki (India) incorporated lightweight magnesium alloys in their chassis and other parts for weight reduction in the front end and steering columns. The usage of plastics has increased to cater to the vehicle’s additional weight because of the incorporation of advanced features. The lightweight plastics are used in the vehicle’s bumpers, exterior trims, and interior.

Asia Pacific to predominantly lead the automotive lightweight materials market during the forecast period.

The market growth in Asia Pacific can be attributed to the high vehicle production and increasingly stringent emission and fuel consumption regulations in Japan, South Korea, India, and China. For instance, China and India have strictly reinforced the emission norms – China-6 and BS VI, respectively. Such regulations demand various after-treatment devices and electronics to effectively reduce emissions, increasing the overall weight of the vehicles. In addition, an increase in demand for comfort, safety, and luxury has added weight to the vehicles’ features such as ADAS systems, automatic systems, etc. Using lightweight materials to compensate for the increase in vehicle weight is one of the strategies followed by OEMs. Moreover, the increasing need for safety systems and the latest safety regulations in many developing countries further drive the demand for automotive lightweight. For instance, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) proposes the mandatory six airbag systems in cars in India. In July 2019, the ABS and driver-side airbags were made mandatory and revised as dual front airbags from January 2022. A six-airbag feature would increase the vehicle’s overall weight, driving the demand for lightweight materials. The need for premium segment vehicles is good, and the region has the highest sales in the A, B, and C segment vehicles. This restricts the use of composites such as CFRP in the region, and the focus is more on low-cost plastics and lightweight metals. However, there is an increase in the demand for SUVs in the region. The SUVs are generally larger and heavier than the other passenger car segment. According to the MarketsandMarkets analysis, the SUV market is estimated to have a CAGR of 5.0% from 2022 to 2027.

Key Market Players

The automotive lightweight materials market is dominated by giants such as BASF SE (Germany), Covestro AG (Germany), LyondellBasell Industries Holdings B.V. (Netherlands), Toray Industries, Inc. (Japan), ArcelorMittal (Germany), ThyssenKrupp AG (Germany), Novelis, Inc. (US), Alcoa Corporation (US), Owens Corning (US), and Stratasys Ltd. (US).

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