Unfortunately, this newfound popularity has resulted in a crisis of epic proportions: an Alcantara shortage. While the rich haven’t begun rioting in the streets quite yet, Motor Trend reports the increased demand for the material – which is used on everything from private jets to the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 – has resulted in a lack of supply.
Alcantara CEO Andrea Boragno told the publication his company can only produce 8 million meters (8.7 million yards) annually but they have to turn away up to 20 percent of new business as its plant is currently running at full capacity. This is bad news for fans of the material but its great for Alcantara as the company reportedly made €187.2 ($230.7) million last year. This was due, in part, to surging demand in the automotive sector which has climbed 15% or more annually for the past seven years.
While the automotive sector makes up about 80% of Alcantara’s business, the company was reportedly caught off guard when demand for the synthetic material jumped 35% in 2015. Thankfully, the company is trying to catch up with demand as Alcantara aims to double its production capacity thanks to an investment of €300 ($369.7) million. This wouldn’t happen overnight but the company could be able to produce up to 16 million meters (17.4 million yards) annually by the end of 2023.
While few people will probably shed a tear over the Alcantara shortage, Boragno did reveal an interesting statistic as he noted the material is up to 50% lighter than leather. He says this enables an undisclosed Lamborghini model to be 11 lbs (4.9 kg) lighter than it would be with leather upholstery.