Stainless steel is preferred in the automotive industry due to its favorable properties such as high strength, corrosion resistance, and ability to perform under extreme temperatures and pressures. Iron ore, nickel, chromium, silicon, scrap iron, zinc, and coking coal are the major raw materials used in the manufacturing of automotive stainless steel tubes.
The automotive stainless steel tubes market is segmented into welded and seamless, on the basis of product. Welded stainless steel tubes have the highest penetration in the market. These are cost effective and have minimum waiting period which is likely to increase its popularity in cost-conscious countries such as India and China.
The demand for seamless stainless steel tubes is projected to grow at the highest rate, over the forecast period. Low risk of leakage is expected to increase its utilization in automobile components such as exhaust systems and fuel supply systems. However, the high cost of these products is anticipated to restrain growth.
Automotive stainless steel tube market, by region, 2015 (%)
The demand for automotive stainless steel tubes was the highest in the Asia Pacific region in 2015. Growing automobile industry, as well as regulations regarding strength and safety of vehicles, has resulted in increasing use of stainless steel tubes by automobile manufacturers. This region was least affected by the economic slowdown from 2007 to 2009, which slowed down the automobile industry in some of the other regions.
Europe accounted for the second largest share in 2015. This region has witnessed a revival in the automotive sector, since the financial depression of 2007. Germany, which is considered to be the automotive hub of Europe, has led this revival. The market in UK has also seen increased demand for automotive stainless steel tubes. Major automobile manufacturers such as Volkswagen, Renault, Volvo, and Fiat are headquartered in this region.
The automotive stainless steel tube market is dominated by major players such as ArcelorMittal, Sandvik Group, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation, ThyssenKrupp, and Fischer Group. These companies have R&D centers, manufacturing facilities and distribution networks throughout the world. The emerging Latin American and Asia Pacific regions are expected to provide an opportunity for these players to grow further.
The majority of the manufacturers of stainless steel tubes have adopted forward integration strategies. These involve manufacturing and supplying the final product to the end user, i.e. automobile manufacturers, directly. However, some manufacturers make use of distributors and retailers in order to sell their products.
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