The global conventional light vehicle market is expected to go through significant changes over the next ten years. In the backdrop of economic uncertainties, tougher emission standards, electric mobility and stiffening car ownership regulations, vehicles sales growth will remain restrained. Meanwhile, growth will also be shifting from matured markets to developing and emerging markets.
Commodity Inside understands that consumer preferences will continue to grow for sport utility vehicles (SUVs) followed by compact (C) and subcompact (B) segments. In addition, the concept of mobility itself will change substantially, whilst vehicles will be increasingly becoming connected, autonomous and shared. Almost all the major OEMs have announced their plans for autonomous vehicles. The rising influence of technology in the automotive industry has opened new revenue streams for OEMs and components suppliers, though at the same time appealing new entrants. Apple has now publically revealed its plans for penetrating the autonomous vehicles market by asking the US highways regulator to promote fair competition between new entrants and established manufacturers.
The increasing regulations to mitigate emission and strengthen fuel economy standards will likely to result reductions in vehicle weight. Commodity Inside ascertains that curb weight of an average light vehicle will decline around 9% by the end of 2026. This will significantly impact material compositions in the automotive industry. Steel which makes up a significant part of the total mass will forgo some of its share to competing materials particularly aluminium and plastics. However, steel producers are also expecting to introduce new high-grade steel. For instance, ArcelorMittal is planning to launch new automotive steel grades next year by expanding its portfolio of third generation advanced high strength steel (3G AHSS), which will help OEMs to reduce the weight of body-in-white.
Commodity Inside automotive analyst Sergej Gavrilov writes “We believe that steel will maintain its stronghold in the automotive industry due to relatively low cost and favourable technical specifications. Moreover, some car segments are quite price sensitive and buyers will be reluctant to pay a premium for lighter version models, consequently resisting the use of advanced lightweight materials such as carbon fibre composites.”