According to a study done by Bharatbook, the U.S. demand for coatings, adhesives and sealants used in the automotive industry is forecast to reach $5.6 billion in 2014. This represents a significant rebound from the declines of the 2004-2009 period, when the market was adversely impacted by the global economic downturn. The U.S. motor vehicle industry was particularly hard hit by the weak global economy, as falling consumer confidence and a tightening in credit markets severely restricted new vehicle purchases. As a result, vehicle output was nearly cut in half between 2004 and 2009, reducing demand for coatings, adhesives and sealants at the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) level. Through 2014, however, this segment of the market will drive overall gains as vehicle production expands rapidly from a depressed base, according to the new study.
OEM segment to regain position as leading outlet
The OEM segment has historically dominated the automotive coating, adhesive and sealant market. In 2009, however, vehicle output had fallen so low that the aftermarket accounted for more than half of demand. Going forward, the OEM segment will expand at a doubledigit pace and once again take its place as the leading outlet for coatings, adhesives and sealants. Passenger cars are expected to offer the best opportunities for growth, benefiting from their greater fuel efficiency compared to larger vehicles. Smaller vehicles, however, consume less coatings, adhesives and sealants on a per vehicle basis than do larger vehicles.
Aftermarket demand to accelerate too
The aftermarket generally provides more stable growth than its OEM counterpart, as it is largely dependent on the size of the nation's motor vehicle park, a much less volatile indicator than vehicle output. Demand in this market will also accelerate through 2014. As economic conditions improve, drivers will be more likely to make nonessential repairs that they may have chosen to forgo during times of economic uncertainty. Advances will be further supported by accelerating growth in the number of motor vehicles in use. In particular, above-average gains in the larger vehicle segments will bode well for demand, as these vehicles consume higher volumes of coatings, adhesives and sealants in their repair than do smaller vehicles.
Water-based, powder, radiation-curable products to lead gains in coatings
Coatings will remain the leading product type, accounting for more than threequarters of market value in 2014. Water-based, powder and radiation-curable coatings will provide the best gains, as their good environmental profile enables users to meet stricter VOC requirements. However, overall demand will advance at a below-average pace as efforts to improve paint shop efficiency, reduce costs and limit waste will restrict gains in market volume. Sales will also be impacted by greater competition from alternative materials, such as in-molded colored plastics and paint films.
Adhesive, sealant segments to outpace coatings
More rapid growth will be achieved by the smaller adhesive and sealant segments. Advances will be promoted by cost-cutting measures and efforts to increase fuel efficiency by reducing vehicle weight, both of which favor the use of adhesives and sealants over welded joints, mechanical fasteners and gaskets.