Global Thermoplastic Elastomers: Motor Vehicle Market

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This study analyzes the global motor vehicle market for thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) by region and product. For the purposes of this study, a thermoplastic elastomer is defined as any thermoplastic material that exhibits elastomeric properties; TPEs therefore offer the functional performance characteristics of thermoset rubber but are processed using the methods and machinery of rigid thermoplastics.

TPEs covered in this report are:

  • copolyester elastomers (COPEs)
  • polyolefin elastomers (POEs)
  • styrenic block copolymers (SBCs)
  • thermoplastic polyolefins (TPOs)
  • thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs)
  • thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPVs)
  • specialty types (including polyether block amide, silicone-based TPEs, fluoropolymer-based TPEs, and vinyl-based TPEs)

SBCs that do not exhibit elastomeric properties (i.e., high styrene products that contain roughly 60% or more styrene) are excluded from the scope of this study.

While TPOs and TPVs are “polyolefin elastomers” in a technical sense, they are defined separately for the purposes of this study. Furthermore, vulcanized olefin elastomers such as EPDM and ethylene-propylene rubber are not TPEs and are thus excluded.

Compounds with vulcanized elastomers are considered to be TPVs rather than TPOs. Various sources and manufacturers differ on the degree of vulcanization required to define an olefinic TPE as a TPV, so estimates of current global demand can vary.

For the purposes of this report, motor vehicle TPEs are defined as those used in light, medium, and heavy motor vehicles in both OEM and aftermarket applications, including exterior, structural, engine, mechanical, and interior applications:

  • exterior and structural (e.g., body panels, hoods, lift gates, exterior lights, fire wall silencer, fascia, trim)
  • engine and mechanical, including gaskets, belts, and hoses, as well as air ducts and cuffs, and wires and cables
  • interior (e.g., instrument panels, airbag doors, carpet backing, consoles, door panels and trim, floor mats, steering wheels)

Historical data (2009, 2014, and 2019) and forecasts for 2024 and 2029 are presented for automotive TPE demand in metric tons.

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