Headliner Producers To Feel The Pinch of Smaller Automotives Industry

By Nonwovens Staff, Nonwovens Staff | July 22, 2009

Japan's car output expected to be below 10 million this year; down from 11.5 million in 2008

Headliner Producers To Feel The Pinch of Smaller Automotives Industry

Japan’s car output expected to be below 10 million this year; down from 11.5 million in 2008

By Kin Ohmura, Osaka Chemical

Production of automobiles de­creased 0.3% in 2008 compared to 2007 with about 11.5 million cars made that year. However, this figure is expected to trend sharply downward in 2009 with output not even hitting 10 million cars. The cause of this is the global recession, which began severely impacting the automotives market in October 2008; this downturn is affecting the Japanese nonwovens industry, a supplier to the automotives industry.

Tricot, nonwovens, PVC sheets and TPO sheets are pasted in the automotive cabin interior as faceting materials for headliners and demand for these materials is directly proportionate to automotive demand. Total demand for these materials was 34.7 million last year. Of this, 68% were nonwovens; 26% were tricot and the remaining materials together comprised 6%. For the most part, tricot is used in premium cars while nonwovens are being used in medium and lower end cars; however, the use of tricot has expanded in medium range cards since 2002, driving up demand of these materials. Therefore, despite increasing demand for automotives, the demand for nonwovens in this application remained flat from 2002-2005. Beginning in 2006, nonwovens demand started rising as manufacturers looked to trim costs because these materials are more economical. This growth has now come to an end, as demand for automotives has sharply declined.

Trends of Nonwovens Headliner Manufacturers

Otsuka, Japan Vilene, Suminoe Textile, Dynic, Kureha and Kanai Juyo Kogyo are the six companies that sell nonwovens for headliners in Japan. All but Suminoe Textile, make the nonwovens themselves. Suminoe Textile is a large producer of textured knits used for car seats and also makes tricot-facing materials for automotive headliners. This company entrusts the production of nonwovens to Nishikawa Rose and the five others make the nonwovens themselves.

Of the five other producers, Otsuka and Japan Vilene are the leading manufactures. Otsuka has a 43% marketshare and Japan Vilene has a 31% share. With the top two companies together occupying nearly three-quarters of the market, the other four companies hold small shares of the market.

Otsuka also produces nonwovens for the automotive carpet market as well as sound-absorbing materials. Together, the company makes 30 million square meters of nonwovens annually for the automotive market. Meanwhile, Japan Vilene is a global player in the automotive market, making nonwovens for headliners in the U.S. and Korea.

Kin Ohmura specializes in nonwovens, synthetic fibers and industrial textiles.
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