NPRA ’10: US Saflex to ride rising China auto market

29 March 2010 01:24  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS news)--Polyvinyl butyral (PVB) producer Saflex expects to see substantial sales growth in China as that country continues its ascent as the global leader in auto production, a company executive said on Sunday.

US-based Saflex, a subsidiary of Solutia, makes PVB for the production of laminated safety glass in autos and buildings.

In 2007, a Saflex sheet extrusion line plant opened in Suzhou, China, in response to the growing needs of the China market.

China passed the US to become the world's top auto market last year, according to Automotive News, with sales surging 46% to a record 13.6m units. Automobile production is expected to reach 16m by 2012.

“Once China has reached number one, I don’t see them going back,” said Saflex vice president of business management Eric Nichols on the sidelines of the International Petrochemical Conference.

In a related development, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, China's largest private-run auto maker, agreed on Sunday to buy Ford Motor's Volvo car unit for $1.8bn (€1.3bn), according to several news reports.

As China becomes a global auto power, it will strive to make lighter and more fuel efficient vehicles, which will use thinner and lighter glass windows that use PVB to strengthen them and other laminate products to help make the auto interiors more quiet, Nichols said.

Hosted by the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA), the International Petrochemical Conference continues through Tuesday.

($1 = €0.75)

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By: Brian Ford
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