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Japan emerges lead supplier of automotive textiles to the US

Japanese textile companies have emerged as significant suppliers to the US automotive industry. 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 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.

There is a growing demand for environmentally-friendly products in the global automotive interiors market. Changes in attitudes towards ecological and environmental concerns are reflected in vehicle designs as well as automotive interiors.

Other future trends include the substitution of polyurethane foam in upholstery composites by three-dimensional 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 fibers 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.