U.K. Lube Demand Slips


U.K. Lube Demand Slips

Automotive lubricant demand in the United Kingdom is expected to dip at a compound annual rate of 0.2 percent through 2021 to 286,000 metric tons, claimed The Freedonia Group in a recent press release.

Despite the decrease in overall demand, the Ohio-based research group anticipates synthetic automotive lubricant demand to grow 2.2 percent per year through 2021 to 126,000 metric tons.

Photo: georgeclerk/iStock

Medium and heavy duty vehicles account for a smaller portion of demand than the rest of Europe because, as an island nation, it does not export goods via truck like countries on the continent.

Increasing availability of synthetic blends at more affordable prices, stringent emissions regulations and original equipment manufacturer recommendations calling for low-viscosity lubricants are fueling synthetic lubricant demand growth. At the same time, high-quality synthetic lubricant formulations and improving engine technologies are causing the average drain interval to lengthen, leading to lower demand volumes.

The major trend is that low-viscosity synthetic lubricants are gaining market share, which, along with improved vehicle technology, will lengthen drain intervals and prevent demand from growing, said Corinne Gangloff, media relations director at The Freedonia Group.

Engine oils will continue to dominate the automotive segment of the U.K.s lubricant market, making up 72 percent of demand.

Most of countrys automotive lubricants – 64 percent in 2016 – are used in light-duty vehicles. Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles used 15 percent of automotive lubes that year, and off-highway equipment up 12 percent. Freedonia did not specify what the remaining 9 percent is used for. Light vehicles, like cars and SUVs, account for a greater share of lubricant demand in the U.K. than anywhere else in the world, the press release said.

BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Total, Exol Lubricants, Morris Lubricants and Comma are the countrys top seven suppliers. Together, they account for roughly three-quarters of U.K. automotive lubricant demand. The market research group did not disclose its estimates of market shares for each company.

Freedonia does not foresee the U.K.s exit from the European Union as having a significant impact on the landscape of the market. Brexit is not expected to have a significant impact on the U.K.s automotive lubricants market through 2021. However, depending on how the process unfolds, it could eventually lead to some original equipment manufacturers to shift production to outside the country, Gangloff explained.

Related Topics