The automotive industry has been witnessing rapid growth over the years and consequently, so has the automotive interior materials market. The value of the automotive interior materials market is estimated to be US$83.6 bn in 2016. A major portion of the revenue is generated by the passenger vehicles segment, whose market share is expected to increase from 77.05% in 2015 to 77.14% in 2016. Upholstery is the leading application segment in the automotive interior materials market and is expected to retain its position for the future years thanks to the consistent demand for leather.
High Demand for Leather in Automotive Interior Materials Market
Leather is the most widely used automotive interiors material for upholstery. The upholstery segment is expected to be worth US$20.8 bn in 2016, registering a 6.3% increase over the previous year. With more disposable income available with consumers, the demand for premium materials is on the rise, leading to a huge demand for leather.
Asia Pacific is the dominant region with a 42.7% volume share in the automotive interior materials market. This can be attributed to the easy availability of raw materials and finished products at a reasonable cost. Asia Pacific – the largest market for automotive interior materials – is expected to be worth US$35.8 bn in 2016. With the rise in disposable incomes and increased standard of living among the consumers in Asia Pacific, the demand for luxury cars has increased manifold, thus fueling the growth of the leather sub-segment in the automotive interior materials market.
Increasing Demand for Cost-efficient Solutions for Budget Cars
According to the current scenario, the demand for budget cars is at an all-time high. Asia Pacific, especially China and India, are witnessing rapid boom in the budget cars segment. This has resulted in manufacturers exploring new options for cost cutting and remaining competitive and, at the same time, offering plush interiors.
Manufacturers are steadily moving towards PU leather as a preferential choice for automotive interior materials since it lends the look and feel of actual leather while being a lot easier on the pocket. Synthetic leather is another option adopted by manufacturers to cater to consumers who demand the look and feel of leather at a reasonable cost. PU leather has several advantages over hiding leather, such as decreased environmental impact and lower maintenance cost, and this segment is thus expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.1% over 2024.
Manufacturers Opting For Next-Gen Fabrics
In order to keep up the environment-friendly and futuristic theme of automobiles, the budget cars segment is moving away from hiding leather and another breed of new cars such as electric and hybrid are opting for smart fabrics as automotive interior materials. Except for manufacturers of premium luxury cars, who provide bespoke automotive interior materials, manufacturers are slowly shifting toward fabrics that are lightweight, durable, corrosion-resistant, and energy-efficient.
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The fabrics segment is expected to hold the leading share in terms of material type, valuing US$50 bn in 2016. As for other automotive interior materials used, PVC leather is also being widely used. However, stringent government sanctions have impaired its usage due to environmental concerns.