TOKYO – Carbon fiber-reinforced plastics remain a niche material within the automotive industry nearly half a century since their development. Limited mainly to racing and sports-car applications, demand is still small at about 1,000 tons (907 t) annually. Global carbon-fiber demand, in all industrial sectors, stood at 23,000 tons (20,865 t) in 2009 and is expected to grow 20% this year to 28,000 tons (25,400 t). Toray Industries Inc., the world’s largest producer of high-performance ...

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