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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.
Reports in Technical Textile Markets include:
company and country profiles – giving you the opportunity to learn from strategies employed by others, in terms of production, sourcing, import/export, infrastructure and development, and plans for the future.
profiles of the world's top 40 producers of nonwovens – updated each year with details of developments from each of the leading producers, including acquisitions, investments and divestments, and analyses of trends which the "rising stars" are using to their advantage.
statistical reports – including consumption data, by fibre and end-use applications. Regular updates are published for fibre consumption in Japan, the rest of Asia, the USA, and Western Europe.
market sector information – analyses of important commercial end-user applications, and profiles of both established and emerging markets which take into account such innovations and developments as nanotechnology and intelligent textiles.
regular updates on innovations in fibres, technical textiles, apparel and machinery – including developments in the following categories: fibres and yarns; technical textile fabrics for industrial applications; machinery; technical textiles for apparel; composites; other technical textile products; and technical textile treatments and finishes.
reports on new technological developments and other topical issues – with clear, authoritative comments on their economic and commercial significance. The reports bring to your attention the key issues which you can use to develop your business, and provides contact details of useful organisations.
So whether you are involved in man-made fibres, nonwovens or technical textiles – in manufacturing, converting, import/export, or end use – or if you are in education or consultancy or investment or finance – a subscription to Technical Textile Markets will tell you what you need to know about the key trends in the industry.
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