CLEVELAND – Demand for adhesives, sealants and coatings used in the U.S. automotive industry is forecast to increase 1.3 percent per year to 1.8 billion pounds in 2003, according to "Automotive Coatings, Sealants & Adhesives," a recent study by The Freedonia Group, Inc.

Gains will slow from the expansionary pace set between 1993 and 1998, primarily due to the decelerating U.S. motor vehicle industry. Adhesives and sealants will offer the strongest annual gains due to their increased use per vehicle, while volume demand for automotive coatings will be mitigated by the continuing shift to powders, which are more efficient and weigh less than conventional solvent-based liquids.

The continuing popularity of larger vehicles will sustain growth in the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) market, since these vehicles require more of these materials in their manufacture. Despite the forecasted deceleration in motor-vehicle production rates, the report states that the OEM market will continue to account for the majority of adhesive, sealant and coating demand well into the next decade. OEM demand, particularly for adhesives and sealants, will also benefit from the increased usage of plastics in motor-vehicle assembly. However, future gains for coatings may be restricted by the greater use of in-molded plastics in exterior applications, since these materials do not require painting.

Coatings will continue to be the largest product segment, accounting for over 50 percent of total volume and over 75 percent of total value in 2003, despite facing restricted growth due to competition from in-molded color plastics and dry-paint film. The product mix of the coating segment will continue to switch from solvent-based to environmentally friendly technologies, particularly powder coatings and, to a lesser extent, radiation-cured coatings.

The sealant and adhesive product segments will offer the strongest gains, with growth in both segments attributable to similar trends, according to the report. Favorable gains are arising from the automotive industry's continuing efforts to produce lighter, more aerodynamic vehicles, an outgrowth of federal mileage and emission standards. In addition to the greater use of plastics, demand will benefit from an effort to create quieter, better-sealed interiors, both for aesthetic reasons and to improve efficiency of heating and air conditioning.

"Automotive Coatings, Sealants & Adhesives" (published September 1999; 259 pages) is available for $3,400 from The Freedonia Group, Inc. For further details, contact Corinne Gangloff at 440-684-9600, fax 440-646-0484, or e-mail Full text is also available at the Web site or online through commercial database companies.