Impact of COVID-19 on the automotive lightweight material market?

Automotive Lightweight Material Market

The global Automotive Lightweight Material Market in the pre-COVID scenario was projected to grow from USD 85.2 billion in 2020 to USD 116.4 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 7.4% during the forecast period. However, due to COVID-19, most of the countries have imposed a complete lockdown for almost more than two months, which, in turn, has impacted vehicle production. The automotive lightweight material market is estimated to observe a decline post-COVID-19 due to the impact on vehicle production. The automotive lightweight material market post COVID-19 is estimated to grow from USD 69.7 billion in 2020 to USD 99.3 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 7.3% during the forecast period.

The growing trend of vehicle weight reduction and stringent emission norms are expected to increase the demand for automotive lightweight materials. For instance, trimming the vehicle body weight by 1 kg can help reduce 17–20kg of CO2 emitted during the lifespan of the vehicle. The European regulatory authorities plan to achieve 95g of CO2 per km in 2020 from 140g CO2 per km for passenger vehicles. These regulations have compelled OEMs to explore different alternatives such as improving the engineering technology in the powertrain system, switching to alternative fuel, and increasing the use of lightweight materials.

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Initially, when lightweight materials were introduced in the market, there were few opportunities due to lack of technology. For instance, steel wheels were replaced with alloy wheels. The dashboard, which was also made of steel in the older cars, is now made of different composite materials such as carbon fiber and other lightweight metals like magnesium alloys and high strength steel. Today, 18.5% of the PV part is made of medium strength steel, and 11% of the vehicle part is made of polymer or another composite.

The North American automotive lightweight material market is projected to grow at the highest CAGR from 2020 to 2025. The market growth in the region can be attributed to the CAFE fuel economy regulation of 55.4 MPG by the year 2025, which has increased the demand for lighter, faster, and high-performance vehicles. Companies in this region have begun working on light-weighting trucks and SUVs with the increasing use of materials such as lightweight aluminum and high strength steel.

The metal segment is estimated to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. Aluminum is estimated to have the highest market share, in terms of value. This is because metals are used in multiple parts of the vehicle such as body-in-white, chassis, powertrain, and closures.

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Leading market players have adopted strategies of new product development and mergers & acquisitions to increase their share in the automotive lightweight material market. Automotive lightweight material suppliers, manufacturers, and providers have increased investments in product innovation and testing of material advancements. For instance, in April 2019, Novelis Inc. announced it is supplying Toyota Motor Corporation with premium aluminum automotive body sheet for the all-new 2019 Toyota RAV4. The RAV4 is Toyota’s number-one selling vehicle and the best-selling non-pickup truck in the country. With a new and improved design that includes Novelis aluminum in the hood, fenders, and liftgate, the fifth-generation model of the RAV4 is 4% lighter than previous models.

Key Market Players

The automotive lightweight material market is dominated by global players and comprises several regional players. The key players in the automotive lightweight material market are BASF SE (Germany), Covestro AG (Germany), LyondellBasell Industries Holdings B.V. (Netherlands), Toray Industries, Inc. (Japan), ArcelorMittal (Luxembourg), thyssenkrupp AG (Germany), Novelis, Inc. (US), Alcoa Corporation (US).

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