Products such as neodymium-based performance butadiene rubber (Nd-PBR) and solution styrene butadiene rubber (S-SBR) are chief ingredients of high performance rubber. These products represent the family of synthetic rubbers derived from styrene and butadiene. Nd-PBR is chiefly used in manufacturing the treads and side walls of "Green Tires" whereas S-SBR is used as the chief tread compound of "Green Tires". Addition of these products makes tires safe, lessens rolling resistance, improves grip on wet road and increases fuel efficiency, provides high resistance to abrasion and thus makes them more durable. Increasing popularity of high performance rubber in the market is enabling market players such as Germany's LANXESS to develop new production capacities and targets. High performance rubber finds application in the automotive industry such as in tires manufacturing.
The automotive rubber market is expected to witness a shift to high performance rubber from commodity products as high performance rubber has many superior qualities such as making tires safe, increases grip on wet roads, increases rolling resistance and more. Studies show that Green Tires enable lesser fuel consumption up to 5%-7% and have a faster price amortization rate when compared to various other fuel saving techniques in vehicles. Moreover, regulatory authorities are focusing to lower the environmental footprint of transport. One such step in this direction is taken by the European regulatory body which is expected to launch a new labeling regulation in Europe from 1 November 2012. Here, tires will be classified on the basis of impact on fuel consumption, noise level and wet-weather capabilities. This will have a positive impact on the high performance tires market.
Increasing cost of raw material such as butadiene along with rising fuel cost will act as a restraint; however, increasing green awareness and performance conscious consumers coupled with faster amortization rate will overcome this concern and drive the growth of this market.
This market is expected to develop at a high growth rate due to rising demand of environmental friendly rubber products and strict regulations imposed by regulatory organizations. It is estimated that by 2015 high performance segment will account for about 50% of all tires. However, this will solely depend on availability of such tires in the market for sale, as manufacturers will not take the risk of producing cost effective tires from expensive feedstock.
Some of the key players profiled in this report include Bridgestone, Goodyear, LANXESS, Michelin, Pirelli and Continental.
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