Brussels-A cost index is being launched by the Euro-Molders association, to highlight cost fluctuations in materials used to make polyurethane car seat cushions.
The association, which represents plastics moulders who supply the automotive sector in Europe, said the index is "an innovative move towards more transparency for customers."
The index aims to offer a snapshot of the highs and lows faced by European manufacturers, "The pricing pressure brought to bear on seat manufacturers by the large car manufacturers is intense," and often is not connected to the cost rises experienced by part makers, said Euro-Moulders secretary general Hubert Creyf. He added that this new index "should allow moulded foam manufacturers to better respond individually to such pressure," since they will have "appropriate and objective cost information."
The five main components of PU car seat cushions come from the derivatives of crude oil, particularly toluene and naphtha, the Brussels-based group points out in a 22 Feb statement .
Not only are their prices influenced by fluctuating oil prices but also by any volatility in supply and demand, since they are also used for other applications. In this context, the association added, "Booming overseas markets and limited refining capacity … put pressure on availability and pricing."
The cost index, published on the new Euro-Moulders website www.euro-moulders.org, will map cost trends for these raw materials on a quarterly basis.
Such data will help members communicate better with customers, and Euro-Moulders hopes it will also become "a trusted resource and indicator of cost trends."
The data will be compiled by an independent notary. Participation is voluntary for Euro-Moulders members, but the group said a majority are taking part."