Global Automotive Interior Materials Trends
5 emerging trends in the global automotive interior materials industry include significant uptick in the use of leather, incorporation of green or eco-friendly materials, increasing demand for plastics, emergence of lightweight materials driven by the use of electric vehicle and the use of smart textiles.
Trend#1: leather is seeing a significant uptick
- According to Digital Journal's Automotive Interior Market Report (2018–2027) use of leather as an authentic material is seeing a significant upsurge.
- In terms of market leaders pushing the trend, Faurecia was found to create some of the best cars interiors in the market with its leather wrapping technologies. The company also believed leather as a material would have a notable role to play in the 'cockpit of the future' as consumers preferred combining traditional materials with new technology.
- Another market leader promoting the use of leather was Lear Corporation, which acquired Eagle Ottawa, the world's leading supplier of premium automotive leather in 2015.
- Lear also declared in their website that the company is ''focused on producing the most luxurious, durable, and high-performing leather in the global automotive industry.''
Trend 2 : The use of 'green' or eco-friendly materials
- According to FactMR's 'Automotive Interior Trims Market Forecast' (2018–2027) automotive interior material markets is seeing a significant trend emerging in the for of incorporation of green technology in the automotive interior trim market.
- The market leader who is notably pushing this trend is Toyota Boshoku. The company is significantly promoting the use of readily disassemblable and recyclable design, along with the development of technologies for material recycling and the replacement of materials with a range of plant-derived materials.
- The company is using Kenaf which is an annual grass that grows quickly and has high CO2 absorption capabilities to form base material for door trim. The lightweight Kenaf base material for the door trim was used recently in LEXUS LS launched in the market in 2017.
Trend 3 : increased demand for plastics
- According to Grandview Research's Automotive Interior Materials Market Size report (2018–2025) the demand for aesthetically appealing plastic for interiors is on the rise complemented by its need for lightweight vehicles.
- The market leader pushing forward this trend is Toyota Boshoku as it partnered with Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. to commercialize “high impact-resistant plastic” that will also contribute to the high functionality and lighter weights of automotive components such as doors and seat backboards in the days to come.
- The company also believes that this plastic will find its place in each product line such as door trims and headliners combined and their strengths will help enhance design and product capabilities in the future.
Trend 4 : the emerging trend of lightweight materials
- With the advent of electric vehicles which need to keep their weight light in order to increase vehicular range per battery charge, manufacturers are looking at increased demand for lightweight interior materials.
- One such player is Alcantara, whose flagship product with the same name weighs significantly less than either polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or leather.
- Another manufacturer Toray whose product is known as Ultrasuede is also encouraged by this trend and has increased production of Ultrasuede by 60%.
- Key market players such as US based Sage Automotive Interiors is promoting this trend selling synthetic suede through its subsidiary Mika, under the product named Dinamica. This synthetic suede is manufactured by Asahi Kasei who is currently raising its capacity by 50% in Japan encouraged by this upsurge in the demand for the material.
Trend 5 : Smart Textiles
- According to Grandview research's 'Automotive Interior Materials Market Size' report (2018–2025), Smart Textiles are increasingly finding their place as a car-seat material as they are lighter and can replace thermo-conductive layers.
- One of the leaders which really pushing this trend is Lear Corporation through their flagship product line 'Guilford Performance Textiles by Lear' which delivers body cloth capabilities, headliner and other specialty applications.
- It has different product lines such as TeXstyle™ Defense, TeXstyle™ Enhance, TeXstyle™ Lite and TeXstyle™ Tough. TeXstyle™ Lite, for example, which is applicable to all cloth seats, is strategically utilized in the low wear areas of the car seat as it offers a consistently appearing alternative to over-engineered program fabrics.
To find out the trends as asked for in the request, we started the search by looking into industry reports pertaining to trends in the global automotive interior materials industry. We found that information related to trend only came as a sub-segment of market sizing reports as published by sites such as MarketResearch, Transparency Market research, Grandview research, factMR etc. These market research agencies published reports that were mostly behind paywall; therefore, one report hardly contained one or two trends for the overall industry without providing much insight into which companies were battling for the trend. We identified one industry report that highlighted the key market players such as Johnson Controls, Inc, DK Leather Corporation Berhad, Toyota Boshoku Corporation, Lear Corporation, Faurecia S.A., Grammer AG, and many others.
While we identified some trends form multiple research reports, we also looked for trend reports from more specialized sources that cover automotive-related topics such as automotive-iq.com and automobileindustry24.com etc. These sources also provided trends but hardly mentioned any company who was the prominent promoter of these trends. We then evaluated each trend as obtained from the market research reports in terms of their importance among the listed key players in the market. We also studied the annual reports, articles and media releases issued by these companies to understand which of these trends were gaining prominence in terms of high adoption rate. In this way, we identified 5 top trends that greatly impact market leaders such as Toyota Boshoku Corporation, Lear Corporation, Faurecia S.A., and Sage Automotive Interiors Inc.