Mobility Business Sector
In addition to globally expanding our existing businesses, we aim to quickly seize on new market opportunities that arise from developments in CASE and growth in ICT-related markets. We will continue to develop new customer-oriented products and businesses and propose solutions centering on our technological know-how in materials.
Fiscal 2018 Business Overview
Sales by product
Sales by region
Trends in net sales and operating income (¥ bn)
Fiscal 2025 target
Operating income of ¥70bn + new businesses
Expanding production capacity for many of the Group’s products in the next business term is essential for translating growing demand into business opportunities. Accordingly, we will steadily increase production capacity in line with the business plan for each product. In addition to expanding and reinforcing existing businesses, we will endeavor to promote the mobility strategy across the entire Group and strengthen our ability to provide solutions to customers.
- Continually bring to market new differentiated products and raise production capacity as part of ongoing efforts to expand existing businesses.
- Work to enhance our product portfolio in the Mobility business by addressing demand for multi-material solutions, establishing technology for fiber-reinforced composite materials, and expanding customer support functions.
- Anticipate customer needs by harnessing open innovation and collaboration with the aim of promoting new business development in new markets and facilitating a shift towards downstream processes and services.
- For polymer product lines that require large-scale production facilities, we will aggressively invest in further strengthening our competitive advantage by expanding production capacity in optimal locations to meet global demand growth.
- For compound products, we will continue to strengthen our customer-oriented global supply system by expanding production capacity in a timely manner to ensure local production for local consumption.
Fiscal 2019 plan
We anticipate firm sales growth for our major products driven by an increase in auto production volume and growth in ICT-related markets. In our existing businesses, we plan to raise production capacity at the appropriate timing to manage growing demand. In addition to capacity expansion for PP compounds, we are undertaking other large-scale investment projects this year, including new production facilities for the EUV pellicle business to keep up with developments in next-generation semiconductors, and capacity expansion for the LUCANT™ business, which has minimal impact on the environment (reduces fuel consumption and extends service life). We intend to accelerate the development of new products and work on creating new businesses with the aim of executing mobility business strategies for long-term growth.
Challenges of automotive industry and lighter car bodies
Growth and Growth in polypropylene (PP) compounds and other automotive parts
Environmental regulations and rise of EVs are making vehicles increasingly lighter
Reducing the amount of CO2 emissions in order to prevent global warming is a challenge for the automotive industry today.
This challenge to reduce emissions lies in realizing lower fuel consumption in vehicles, therefore as a countermeasure, automakers are making car bodies lighter. At the same time, powertrain electrification and the shift to electric vehicles are also making cars lighter so as to improve cruising range.
With the outlook for even stricter regulations to be enforced worldwide between 2020 and 2025 on fuel efficiency and exhaust gas that contains CO2, it is estimated that CO2 emissions will need to be reduced by around 40% compared to 2016 levels in order to comply with the tougher restrictions. If we were to achieve this target by making cars lighter, a further reduction in total vehicle weight of around 25% would be required.
Many automobile manufacturers are now making the switch from traditional metal parts and components to those made from plastics as a means to realize more lightweight vehicles, and this shift is expected to further accelerate.
Pursuing top global share
Growth and expansion of PP compound business
The Group’s automotive material PP compound business boasts the second-highest global share and the top share in Asia. We also maintain a leading share among Japanese automakers, while in North America we already hold a share of roughly 30%, having received a high evaluation and built a solid track record supplying compounds to US auto manufacturers.
PP compounds are materials that enhance impact resistance and rigidity because other polymers and additional agents, such as elastomers and talc, are added to polypropylene, which has superior moldability. Currently, around 50–60 kilograms of PP compounds per car are used to make components such as bumpers and instrument panels.
Our superior proprietary compound recipes and the know-how to design the resins, or in other words the raw materials, have enabled the Group to provide high-quality products meeting various customer needs. And that is why we have been rated very favorably. Moreover, we have built a system capable of quickly accommodating the global strategies of automobile manufacturers, by maintaining eight production bases and ﬁve R&D bases in key regions around the world. In the past our share of the market in Europe was not high; we, therefore, have taken steps to expand our business there by setting up a development base. As we expect this to boost sales in Europe going forward, we established an in-house production base in the Netherlands with the aim of commencing operations in 2020.
We also plan to beef up our production bases in Thailand and India in order to tap demand in the growing Asian market. Up ahead, we aim to further consolidate our business drawing on our technological superiority and supply capabilities. To this end, we will make sure to identify growth markets and augment production capacity in order to meet demand growth and increased market share.
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Further initiatives for metal alternatives
Glass fiber-reinforced polypropylene
Glass fiber-reinforced polypropylene (GFPP) is a compound material made by impregnating fibrous glass with polypropylene resin. It is lightweight and strikes the right balance between rigidity and impact resistance because of the long glass fibers, and increasingly adopted for use in the rear doors of cars as a replacement for metal. Our GFPP also has a nice appearance, which helps shorten the manufacturing process at automakers because it can be used without being coated.
Given the growth in global demand for lighter materials, auto manufacturers are examining whether they can use other materials to replace the metal components in other parts of the car, like sliding doors, on top of rear doors. Fiber-reinforced resins are certainly a strong candidate. GFPP in particular costs less to make than carbon fiber, which is why demand is expected to increase in the future. We intend to establish a solid three-pronged global production framework consisting of bases in Japan, China, and the US that will enable us to meet growing demand for lightweight materials globally.