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The Rise of Japanese Textile Suppliers to the US Automotive Industry
published in Issue 70, 3rd quarter 2007
The supply of textiles to the US automotive industry has changed significantly in recent years with the rise of Japanese textile companies. The most notable success story is Toyota Boshoku—part of the Toyota Group of companies, which also includes Toyota Motor. Others include Japan Vilene, Seiren, Takata, and UGN—a joint venture between Switzerland-based Rieter Automotive Systems and Nihon Tokushu Toryo (Nittoku). Changes in the supply of automotive textiles have also led to shifts in the types of textiles employed in US vehicles. This reflects the fact that the preferences of Japanese and European manufacturers tend to differ from those of US producers.
The success of Japanese automotive textile suppliers reflects dramatic changes in the shape of the US automotive sector itself as the share of US producers has fallen and that of Japanese producers has risen. In general, the dominance of the traditional “Big Three” automotive manufacturers—namely General Motors (GM), Ford and DaimlerChrysler—has waned while Japanese car producers such as Toyota Motor and others have enjoyed rapid and considerable growth in the US market. Sales in North America by Toyota Motor, for example, grew by 17.5% in its 2006/07 financial year, following similar double-digit increases in 2005/06 and 2004/05.
Looking ahead, the global automotive interiors market is set to reach US$210 bn by 2015, from an estimated US$165 bn in 2005. One major driving force for change in the automotive sector—as in many others—is the growing demand for environmentally-friendly products. Changes in attitudes towards ecological and environmental concerns are reflected in vehicle designs as well as automotive interiors. And Japan is taking a lead in this area. Other future trends include: the substitution of polyurethane foam in upholstery composites by threedimensional polyester nonwovens, multi-knits and spacer fabrics which can be recycled; the increased use of efficient, longer life nonwoven filters to meet requirements for longer maintenance periods; the use of optical fibres in textile linings to illuminate certain parts of the car interior—such as the floor, door handles, and other areas; and the use of conductive textiles for heating and electromagnetic shielding, and for the collection or transmission of signals.
Table of Contents
The Rise of Japanese Textile Suppliers to the US Automotive Industry
Changing Patterns of Supply in the US Automotive Textile Market
Types of Automotive Fabrics and Their Applications
Size and Growth of the Market for Automotive Textiles
Toyota Boshoku: Benefiting from Japanese Car Makers' Success in the US Automotive Market
Four times a year, Technical Textile Markets provides an overview of the global man-made fibre, nonwoven and technical textile industries. It provides market data and analysis of new and established markets for technical textiles, and is essential reading for senior executives in (or supplying) the man-made fibre, nonwoven and technical textile sectors – as well as for those who are not involved in the industry on a day-to-day basis, but who need an authoritative source which helps them to quickly gain an understanding of the key issues facing the companies which are actively involved in this fast-growing sector.
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