Focus on Production of Lightweight Vehicles to Propel Market Growth
Over the past couple of decades, the automotive sector has witnessed waves of innovations and new developments. The rapidly changing regulatory landscape coupled with advancements in technology continues to shape the growth of the global automotive sector. In addition, the entry of new technologies has played a pivotal role in driving innovations across the auto sector. In recent years, the automotive sector has primarily focused on minimizing the carbon footprint by using lightweight materials, adopting sustainable production techniques, and increasingly moving toward the production of electric and hybrid vehicles.
As the demand for lightweight materials to manufacture various automotive components continues to move in the upward direction, the North America glass filled polypropylene market is expected to witness steady growth during the forecast period. Players operating in the automotive sector, along with the OEMs in North America are exploring the benefits of various lightweight materials to minimize vehicle weight and attain the required fuel efficiency levels due to which, the demand for glass filled polypropylene is on the rise. In addition, structural and functional benefits offered by glass filled polypropylene over other plastic alternatives are expected to continue to drive sales.
At the back of these factors, the North America glass filled polypropylene market is on course to reach a market value of US$ 1 Bn by the end of 2030.
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Research & Development Activities Pave Way for Sustainable and Lightweight Materials
Research and development activities have played a crucial role in shaping the growth of the global automotive sector. Within the automotive sector, the demand for high-performance plastics continues to grow at a rapid pace due to the increasing pressure to launch fuel-efficient vehicles produced from lightweight plastics. Mounting environmental concerns are expected to play a key role in the growing adoption of glass filled polypropylene during the forecast period. Moreover, favorable properties of glass filled polypropylene, including comfort, safety, minimal corrosion, recyclability, and design flexibility are anticipated to drive the North America glass filled polypropylene market.
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The glass filled polypropylene is increasingly being used to manufacture chemical tanks, cable insulation, gas cans, automotive bumpers, carpet fibers, etc. The adoption of composite materials has emerged as a growing trend across the automotive sector, as market players continue to incline toward producing lightweight vehicles.
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Market Players Focus on Expanding Product Portfolio, Integrate Cutting-edge Manufacturing Techniques
Technological advancements are expected to play a major role in the overall development of the North America glass filled polypropylene market. Several key players operating in the current market landscape are expected to focus on product innovation, leveraging new technologies to improve production, and expand their product portfolio to establish a solid footing in the current market landscape. For instance, in August 2023, Royal DSM announced the launch of glass filled polypropylene granules particularly developed for structural 3D printing applications. While the automotive sector is expected to remain the primary end user of glass filled polypropylene, its adoption for the production of household and electrical appliances is on the rise. At present, industrial, infrastructure, and automotive manufacturers are increasingly adopting new additive manufacturing technologies for decentralized production to reduce costs.
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COVID-19 Pandemic to Impact Demand for Glass Filled Polypropylene
The demand for glass filled polypropylene across North America is expected to decline in 2023, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While the market was growing at a steady pace in the first quarter of 2023, the demand witnessed a drastic drop in the second and third quarter due following closure of non-essential manufacturing facilities due to stringent lockdown regulations, restrictions on cross-border trade, and shutdown of the automotive sector in China in the first quarter of 2023. These factors are expected to result in sluggish growth of the North America glass filled polypropylene market. The market is expected to witness gradual growth toward the last quarter of 2023.
The North America glass filled polypropylene market is expected to grow at a moderate CAGR of ~4%, in terms of value, during the forecast period. The growing adoption from the automotive sector is expected to remain the primary factor that is likely to drive the North America glass filled polypropylene market during the forecast period. Mounting environmental concerns, evolving regulatory landscape, and technological advancements are other factors propelling the North America glass filled polypropylene market in the upcoming years. The growing focus on using lightweight components to produce lightweight vehicles is another major factor that is anticipated to fuel the expansion of the North America glass filled polypropylene market.
North America Glass Filled Polypropylene Market: Overview
- Glass filled polypropylene is used in the manufacture of various automotive parts and products such as under-bonnet parts, cooling system expansion tanks, fan mountings, and belt covers. Glass filled polypropylene possesses several properties, including high tensile strength, heat distortion temperature, excellent flexural modulus, and dimensional stability. This is expected to boost the demand for glass filled polypropylene in automotive applications.
- Based on type, the glass filled polypropylene market in North America has been bifurcated into long fiber and short fiber. The long fiber segment dominated the glass filled polypropylene market in North America in 2019. High share of the segment can be ascribed to attributes of glass filled polypropylene such as better stiffness, creep resistance, strong dimensional stability, and high part forming accuracy than that of short fiber glass filled polypropylene. Long fiber type glass filled polypropylene also offers excellent fatigue resistance and stability in hot and humid environments. Additionally, the usage of long fiber glass filled polypropylene in a structure helps decrease the overall weight of the structure by nearly 10% to 15% than that of the short fiber. This is expected to boost the consumption of long fiber type of glass filled polypropylene in the near future.
Key Growth Drivers of North America Glass Filled Polypropylene Market
- Implementation of stringent environmental regulations in North America and rise in shift toward electric vehicles are driving the demand for lightweight automotive materials in the region. As per the new passenger vehicle registration data released by the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, total number of commercial vehicles rose by 3.47% from 14,343,518 units of commercial vehicles sold in 2018 to 14,842,202 units of commercial vehicles sold in 2019. The volume of vehicles sold by North America-based companies is estimated to increase in the near future, owing to the growth in global demand for electric commercial and passenger vehicles.
- Thus, demand for glass filled polypropylene is anticipated to rise significantly in North America, as glass filled polypropylene helps lower the weight of automotive structures by nearly 30%. Manufacturers such as Mitsui Chemicals Inc. are expanding their manufacturing capabilities in North America in order to meet the increasing demand for glass filled polypropylene. In 2018, Mitsui Chemicals Inc. announced a plan to establish a new manufacturing unit for long glass filled polypropylene at the Ohio plant of its U.S. subsidiary Advanced Composites, Inc. The addition of the new plant is estimated to boost the company’s presence in the U.S., owing to high demand for long glass filled polypropylene among automotive manufacturers in the country. In turn, this is projected to augment the consumption of glass filled polypropylene in the near future.
- Whirlpool Corporation, the largest manufacturer of refrigerators and other electronic appliances in the U.S., registered sales of refrigerators worth US$ 6.3 Bn in 2019, an increase of 4.13 % compared to US$ 6.05 Bn in 2018. Growth in demand for electrical appliances in North America due to rise in disposable income, and increase in new housing and business construction is boosting the demand for washing machine drums, washing machine triangle brackets, brush rollers, air conditioning fans, etc. This is propelling the demand for glass filled polypropylene in North America.
Impact of COVID-19 on North America Glass Filled Polypropylene Market
- Lockdown imposed by governments all around the world to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the automotive industry. Avient Corporation, a key player in the glass filled propylene market, experienced a decline of 15% in orders in April 2023 compared to the sales order during the same period of 2019, owing to lower automotive demand and less discretionary consumer spending.
- Mitsui Chemical Inc., another major player in the glass filled polypropylene market in North America also experienced a similar situation. The company’s mobility segment, under which glass filled polypropylene and other PP compounds are considered, registered an unprecedented 38% decline in revenue (from US$ 0.89 Bn in 2019 to US$ 0.55 Bn in 2023).
Leading Players in North America Glass Filled Polypropylene Market
- The glass filled polypropylene market in North America is highly consolidated. It is dominated by players such as –
- Mitsui Chemicals Inc.
- Repsol S.A.
- RTP Company
- Avient Corporation
- Washington Penn Plastic Co. Inc.
- Asahi Kasei Plastics North America
- The Plastics Group of America
- Borealis AG
- Players operating in the glass filled polypropylene market in North America are extensively engaged in new product launch for automotive and appliances applications. For instance, in 2016, RTP Company added a new product line of very long glass filled polypropylene in its portfolio. These very long glass filled polypropylene products help original equipment manufacturer (OEM) reduce odor, fogging, and total VOCs levels, which further improve air quality and the safety of automotive interiors.