Automotive Fuel Tanks - Global Sector Overview and Forecast (Q4, 2021 Update)
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For some time, fuel tank manufacturers have come under increasing pressure from legislation, particularly in the US, to design and build tanks that can withstand higher and higher impacts without leaking. The main factors driving fuel tank innovation are legislation, weight, packaging, safety and cost. In addition to continued demand for fuel tank range and fuel economy, we are seeing more complex shapes and geometries, particularly driven by the all/rear-wheel drive increase in smaller car segments. This creates a unique packaging environment that influences the design selection and requirement for those programmes.
In the 1970s, all fuel tanks were made of steel. Today, we estimate that about 90% of newly registered vehicles in Western Europe are equipped with plastic tanks while 85% of cars built for North American roads have plastic tanks, a material chosen for its proven resistance to corrosion, light weight and ease of moulding into unusual shapes. They are increasingly being manufactured with their major components sealed inside the tank.
While the angular shape of modern plastic fuel tanks may appear a little strange, their blow-moulded design allows maximum fuel holding capacity in a minimum amount of space. Plastic tanks are also considered more crashworthy because of their seamless design and ability to deform. And depending on the volumes produced, plastic fuel tanks can beat steel in terms of cost.
Given the popularity of plastic tanks, can steel tanks really make a comeback? Sure, there are always opportunities available for steel tanks for low-volume production. Although multi-layered plastic seems to have become the material of choice, there are some concerns that it might not be able to meet the forthcoming emissions regulations or that it meets the spirit of the ELV Directive. Some vehicle makers are said to be re-evaluating plastic tanks in favour of steel, and for some higher value models, even systems made of stainless steel.
The report "Automotive Fuel Tanks - Global Sector Overview and Forecast (Q4, 2021 Update)" provides a comprehensive overview of the global OE fuel tanks sector, major suppliers, top 14 markets, technology trends and market size forecasts.
The top 14 markets accounting for over 98% of global light vehicle production include - North America (US, Canada and Mexico) ; Mercosur (Brazil and Argentina); Western Europe (Germany, Italy, France, UK, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, Finland and Morocco) ; Central Europe (Turkey, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia); Russia; Japan; China; India; Korea; Thailand; Other Asia; Iran; South Africa; Australia.
Based on exclusive interviews, primary research and proprietary data this global market study includes -