Vehicle production has grown at a rate of 3% over the last 15 years and reached 91.2 million units in 2015 – driven by passenger cars with 3.5% growth and commercial vehicles at 1.8%.
In terms of vehicles in use, the growth rate was 3.4% with about 1.3 billion vehicles in use globally, Ita added in a presentation at the TTE conference in Hanover earlier this year.
The trend is similar for the tire and rubber segment, though with slightly stronger growth for passenger car tires versus truck & bus tires.
On the rubber-demand side, Notch predicts growth of 2.8% to nearly 27 million tonnes, while tire production is estimated to reach 2.6 billion units by 2030, of which 2 billion units will be passenger car tires.
In terms of growth, the tire industry’s total consumption of compounding ingredients – not including tire cord – will rise from about 29 million tonnes in 2015 to 46 million tonnes in 2030, Ita forecast.
Looking more closely at the reinforcement fillers segment, Notch estimates that the market will grow from about 10 million tonnes in 2015 to 15 million tonnes in 2030.
This, said Ita, will include an increased share for silica from about 9% to 13% – continuing a trend seen over the last 10 years.
While carbon black is the product most under threat from silica, the Notch expert said “not all segments are under equal threats by any stretch.”
A 2015 analysis of the 9 million tonnes of carbon black used in tires, showed that the most exposed segment was passenger car tread, which accounts for about 15% of all carbon black consumed in the tire market.
“That is where most of the substitution has taken place up until now,“ said Ita.
However, the Notch president went on to identify some threats also in the truck & bus tread segment with the emergence of technologies that overcome the problems of mixing silica with natural rubber.