Frost & Sullivan's latest report, "Prevalent Substitution Trends within Materials and Chemicals in Automotive Lightweighting," finds the lightweight automotive materials segment earned revenues of $38 billion in 2010. That's respectable, but F&S thinks this will more than double to $95.34 billion in 2017, driven mainly by strict fuel economy standards.
Since the weight of a vehicle has a direct impact on its fuel efficiency (roughly, a 10-percent reduction in weight results in fuel savings of between five and seven percent), Frost & Sullivan says lightweighting will be a big focus of automakers and suppliers in the years to come, with the following materials playing a key role, in descending order:
- Advanced High-strength Steels (AHSS)
- Polyamides (PA 6 and PA 66)
- Acrylo-Nitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
- Thermosetting Composites
- High-performance Polymers (PA11, PA12, PA46, PPA, PPS, PEEK)