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Markets and Growth

Glass today is an integral part of a vehicle’s body and fulfils many functions. Design trends point to still greater usage of glass in the future; tighter tolerances, yet deeper and more complex curves. Glass manufacturers must be able to control very closely the pattern of temperatures in the glass throughout the shaping process if overall shape, optical quality and stress patterns are to be achieved consistently.

Utilising its global R&D and global account management structure, Pilkington Automotive's market-focused approach to development of products and services ensures that it delivers the glazing solutions its customers want, in a timely fashion to the appropriate regions.

The growing complexity of glazings has increased the need for integrating simulation within the shaping processes. Pilkington Automotive is recognised as a leader in the development and use of computer simulation for advanced glazing technology, providing customers with the best possible glazing solutions with which to achieve their styling intent. With a truly global simulation team, our capabilities continue to improve, forging the link between simulated results and manufactured products.

Global glass usage

Automotive  10%
Original Equipment 80%
Replacement market      20%

Market and competitive environment

The global market for flat glass* in calendar year 2011 was approximately 59 million tonnes. At the level of primary manufacture, this represents a value of around €24 billion. Of this tonnage, around 80 percent is consumed in windows for buildings, 10 percent in glazing products for automotive applications and 10 percent used in Solar Energy and other applications.

Europe, China and North America together account for 75 percent of demand for glass. Europe is the most mature glass market and has the highest proportion of value-added products.

The NSG Group is one of four global manufacturers, who together produce 60 percent of the world’s high-quality float glass. Much of the world’s lower-quality float and sheet glass production is being replaced by high-quality float.

*  Glass manufactured in flat sheets (float, sheet and rolled), which may be further processed.  Excludes bottles, containers, fibreglass, rods, and tubes.

Value Growth - Automotive



Growth Drivers


Designers see glazing as a crucial element in designs to differentiate vehicles.


Styling demands increase the complexity and depth of curves in vehicle glazing.

Surface tolerance

Increasing depth in complexity of curvature makes surface tolerances critical, e.g. for efficient windscreen wiper operation.


Crime and vandalism increase the need for security, provided by laminated side glazings.

Solar Control

Larger glass areas require tinted and coated glazing to reduce solar gain and air-conditioning load.

Glazing systems

Reduced time to market and lean manufacturing require modularized glazing including trim and other fittings in one unit.

Integrated systems

Complex antenna arrays and electronics integrated into glazing.