Increasing Number of Airbags Drives Growth of Coated Fabrics

Demand for coated fabrics used in motor vehicles is projected to expand 2.2% annually to 144 million square yards in 2023. The vast majority of new growth will be tied to the light vehicle market, where coated fabrics will benefit from the increasing number of airbags per vehicle and their growing use in place of leather upholstery. These and other trends are presented in Coated Fabrics, a new study from The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry research firm.


Renewed growth in US motor vehicle production – which had fallen flat in the 2013-2018 period – will also support gains. However, production gains will remain relatively slow through 2023, due in large part to an increasing reliance on imports of motor vehicles. Domestic coated fabric demand will be further limited by the use of imported components – such as seats and airbags – that are installed in vehicles assembled in the US.


US manufacturers of motor vehicles and related OEM components commonly maintain production operations outside of the US – particularly in Mexico, which offers proximity to the large US market and an abundance of low-cost labor. Several motor vehicle producers – including Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors – have production facilities in Mexico. Among other OEMs, Irvin Automotive Products (Piston Group) has plants in Mexico that produce components containing coated fabrics, including seat trim, cargo shades, and arm rests.

US coated fabrics demand in all markets is forecast to expand 3.1% per year to $3.2 billion in 2023. Opportunities exist in:

  • a number of high-value applications – such as airbags, upholstery, and conveyor belts – in which coated fabrics offer a wide range of suitable performance characteristics
  • the continued development and adoption of higher value coated fabrics that improve performance, end-user safety, and sustainability

Coated Fabrics (published 2/2019, 178 pages) is available for $5600 from The Freedonia Group. For further details or to arrange an interview with the analyst, please contact Corinne Gangloff by phone 440.684.9600 or email