Automotive fabrics are woven, nonwoven, knitted, coated, or composite fabrics that are flexible, elastic, soft, and lightweight in design. These fabrics provide seating comfort. The global automotive fabric market is driven by technology developments in advanced fabric materials, which are known to provide superior comfort qualities vis-à-vis other materials. The global automotive fabric market is driven by the rise in consumer demand for comfort. Increase in disposable incomes allows consumers to afford high-end luxury cars. Technological advancements in automotive fabric materials allows lower range cars to be optionally fitted with quality fabrics. These factors are estimated to boost the global automotive fabric market in the next few years. Increase in manufacture of passenger cars is also augmenting the global automotive fabric market.
Fabric (body cloth fabrics, velvet, velour, and tweed), leather (such as genuine leather, synthetic leather, PU or artificial leather, and synthetic leather), thermoplastic polymers, and vinyl are the highly preferred automotive interior materials. Fabrics that are used in automobiles are generally polyester and rayon blends. Velour is an expensive fabric, which is used in high-end cars. Vinyl is the ideal alternative to fabric; it is available in various texture and colors. Vinyl is affordable and easy to maintain; however, the material gets heated when exposed to sun. Leather is a popular material used in automotive interiors. Synthetic leather is a largely used form of leather, as it is affordable and durable. However, genuine leather is the most durable form of leather, but it is expensive.
Automotive fabrics are used in various applications such as upholstery, floor covering, pre-assembled interior components, tires, airbags, and safety belts. Floor covering accounted for the major share of the automotive fabrics market in 2015. The segment is expected to drive the demand for automotive fabrics due to the increasing usage of carpets in automobiles. Automotive fabrics used in carpets possess vibration and noise absorption properties, while being lighter and cost efficient at the same time. In terms of application, the airbags segment is expected to witness significant growth in the near future. Increase in demand for automotive fabric in airbags is driven by the implementation of stringent government regulations regarding safety of drivers/passengers. Additionally, automotive manufacturers are mandated to install safety devices in cars. With technological innovations, consumers are more inclined toward adopting automotive safety products in order to ensure safety and comfort.
In terms of vehicle type, the automotive fabric market can be segmented into passenger cars, light commercial vehicles, and heavy trucks & buses. Passenger cars accounted for the major share of the automotive fabric market in 2015. The segment is estimated to witness significant growth owing to the increase in usage of these fabrics in various applications due to their high strength; elongation capability; and resistance to fire, water, and UV.
Asia Pacific dominated the automotive fabric market in 2015. Growth of the automobile sector in Asia Pacific, led by the surge in production of vehicles in emerging economies of India, China, and Japan, is anticipated to drive the market in the region in the next few years. Additionally, establishment of production bases, expansion of manufacturing facilities, easy availability of raw materials, cheap labor, and low cost of production are estimated to propel the demand for automotive fabric in the region. The automotive fabric market in North America is projected to expand significantly, led by the strong domestic demand for comfort, safety, and luxury.
Key players operating in the automotive fabric market include Lear Corporation, Adient Plc, and Sage Automotive Interiors Inc.