Capitalising On Good Premium Demand
Benteler-SGL, a joint venture between Benteler Automobiltechnik and SGL Group has opened a new EUR36mn (US$46.8mn) facility in Austria, which will produce composite components for vehicle bodies from mid-2013. BMI believes the investment comes on the back of a strong manufacturing presence in Austria, where the company is boosting production thanks to good demand from premium auto firms.
|Austria - Vehicle Production, CBUs|
BMI has long maintained that Austria will continue to attract investment from international auto manufacturers. BMI forecasts Austrian vehicle production to dip by 0.4% in 2012, to around 171,800 units. However, over the remainder of our five-year forecast period, we expect to see fairly consistent growth, with output reaching around 190,000 units by 2017.
Benteler-SGL mostly produces parts for the premium market, and it is benefitting from rising demand in the sector for light-weight composite components, which reduce fuel consumption. BMI has long maintained a bullish view on the premium autos segment, across both developed and emerging markets, and we believe the future is bright for parts suppliers (see our online service, October 15, ' Ituran To Struggle This Year, But Long-Term Growth Looks Secure').
Furthermore, composite components are particularly well-suited for use in hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs), which require lighter materials to compensate for the additional weight of the battery. While hybrid and EV sales are very low currently, BMI believes this market will develop over the longer term. We reckon that using lighter construction materials will help improve their usability, and thereby facilitate a greater uptake of this technology.