Stringent emissions legislations, along with changes in engine hardware and base oil types, are set to promote the greater incorporation of lubricant additives in passenger car motor oils (PCMO) and heavy duty diesel oils (HDDO).

Analysis from Frost & Sullivan (http://www.chemicals.frost.com), European Automotive Lubricant Additives Market, finds that the market earned revenues of EUR952.3m in 2011 and forecasts this to reach EUR1,245.8m in 2017.

Increasingly stringent EU emissions standards are pushing the demand for fuel-efficient vehicles. This is heightening the focus on lubricant performance, which plays a key role in enhancing fuel-efficiency.

“The integration of more additives will serve the triple purpose of reducing carbon emissions, lowering operating costs and reducing fossil fuel consumption,” said Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Sandeepan Mondal.

“In addition, the greater penetration of emission control technologies, such as diesel particulate filters and extension of oil drain intervals, will create opportunities for innovative automotive lubricant additives.”

Engine hardware changes aimed at ensuring greater fuel-efficiency and lower emissions will also make engine operating conditions harsher. This trend, together with the eventual transition from-lower quality base oils to higher-quality ones, will put pressure on additive manufacturers to create novel formulations.

However, rigorous testing procedures, high development costs and a slowdown in automobile sales threaten long-term growth prospects.

“Developing a single additive type can cost between one and ten million euros,” explained Mondal. “Product development costs, in addition to manufacturing plant outlays, can take between 10-15 years to be recovered.”

The slowdown in automobile sales has affected the automotive lubricant additives market to some extent. However, because of higher treat rates and new formulations, market volumes are, nonetheless, expected to increase.

Overall, economic recovery in Europe and a greater focus on developing better test standards for engine oils can result in reduced development and marketing time for automotive lubricant additives.

“There has to be a focus on product innovation and on developing and marketing engine tests like Sequence IIIG that evaluate piston cleanliness,” added Mondal. “This will help in offsetting some of the factors restraining the market.”

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