The mature European automotive paint additives market is being driven mainly by new technology and product innovation. Sizeable R&D investments are aimed at developing competitively priced, high performance additives that meet legislative requirements.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan – Strategic Analysis of the European Automotive Paint Additives Market – found the market earned revenues of EUR104.2m in 2011 and estimated this to reach EUR159.8m in 2017. Rheology modifiers, surfactants, foam-control agents, driers and catalysts and preservatives are the product segments covered in the research.

Limits on volatile organic chemicals (VOC) content and registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemical substances (REACH) have provided opportunities for innovation and ushered new technology trends in the additives industry. Such trends have resulted in the development of novel products like zero-VOC additives, multifunctional additives and self-healing additives.

 “The implementation of laws and regulations on VOC limits has triggered the shift from solvent-based to water-based coatings, promoting market prospects,” noted F&S research analyst Elamuhil Pari.

“Although water-based coatings are generally low in VOC, they require a greater quantity of additives to achieve the properties of good quality paint, thereby boosting the demand for additives.”

Amidst overall optimism, pricing pressures remain an area of concern. Paints account for only 2-3% of the total investments in automotive manufacture. Car manufacturers are, consequently, willing to pay only a very low price for automotive paints.

“Paint manufacturers are under constant pressure to reduce their prices,” said Pari. “This pressure, in turn, is passed onto additive manufacturers, as additives are added only in very small quantities, resulting in low revenue generation.”

Vendors are expected to sell additives along with resins, pigments and topcoats as an integrated package to facilitate paint chemistry for automobile OEMs. Innovative products that offer a balance between quality, cost, optimal usage and environment-friendliness are also anticipated to increase the chances of price rise in this market.

“Paint additive manufacturers have to innovate and adapt quickly to changing technologies like nano-technology and smart-coating formulations to stay ahead of the competition,” added Pari.