The global automotive sector has always been witnessing regular influx of innovations in its arena. The modern automotive stands unrivalled when compared to the traditional automotive of yesteryears. For instance, in the modern fleet of vehicles, the customary metals are being replaced by carbon-fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) and glass reinforced plastics (GRP) to adapt to the ‘lightweight’ trend. On the other hand, gasoline powered engine control unit finds substitute in electrical engines powered by automotive batteries in electric vehicles. CNG and PLG vehicles are also a disruptive automotive sector trend globally. As a consequence, every sector within automotive manufacturing is under scrutiny to bring into line their products with the modern automotive innovations and trends. Suspension systems can be correctly stated as one such sector, hence the use of lighter metals and composite materials is an emergent trend among the global air suspension market suppliers and manufacturers. For example, Woco Industrietechnik GmbH in course of developing a pneumatic switchover unit that can tolerate extreme internal pressures, chose a polyphthalamide (PPA) with 35 wt. % glass fibers by Du Pont. The material is named DuPont™ Zytel® HTN. It is employed in air suspension systems from Continental Automotive Systems. Some of the advantages of this material includes, high strength and dimensional stability at extreme temperatures, chemical and hydrolysis resistance, and suitability for injection molding. Considering the economic perspective of this commodity, expense on manufacturing is inferior to the customary metallic diecast-magnesium housings conventionally used in air suspension systems. It also does not mandate any refinishing work and intricate-shaped parts can be formed in a solitary phase of manufacturing.
The global air suspension market size was evaluated to be $ 5.37 billion in 2018. The automotive sector is foraying into various variations in the form of electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, and CNG and LPG vehicles, and air suspension systems is a pivotal constituent of mechanism in each. Consequently, such up growing diversity in the global automotive sector has lead towards opportunities in the market to be progressing at a global CAGR of 6.86% during the forecast period of 2019 – 2025.
Air suspension market leveraging growth in sales of premium segment vehicles, as it is an imperative solution outlining comfortable drive:
Electronic Air Suspension Systems (EAS) have already found extensive scope of application in the commercial vehicle sector. It has been an imperative constituent of duty vehicles for many years to maintain a vehicle at a specified level irrespective of the load. Even though the global car production in terms of unit has witnessed a slight fall, commercial vehicles segment manages to grow year on year. The commercial vehicles production increased from 23.8 million units in 2017 to 25.1 million in 2018. This evidently supports the fact that ‘light duty vehicle’ is the fastest growing application segment in global air suspension market share. Gaining substantial impetus from the robustly growing e-commerce sector, this segment is estimated to be progressing at an application CAGR of 7.38% going through up to 2025.
After an acute analysis of air suspension market outlook in the area of passenger vehicles, they predominantly finds application in premium cars models such as Mercedes S and E Class and Audi A8. Sports Utility Vehicles such Mercedes M-Class, Audi Q7, and VW Touareg also rely on air suspensions for a more comfortable and quieter transit. There are several advantages of air suspensions in premium car models that includes driver-accustomed suspension settings programmed lowering of the bodywork, as well as numerous height settings for more chassis clearance for off-road driving. Even though the global car production and sales is witnessing a drop, demand in autonomous luxury vehicle market is progressing. Since occupants’ comfort is a crucial aspect of high-end cars, this growth is adding impetus to the global air suspension market size. An analysis of development luxury vehicle market:
· Mercedes-Benz sold 2.1 million unit of cars in 2016 that accelerated towards 2.3 million units in 2018.
· Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A., subsidiary of Audi owned by Volkswagen Group sold 6,571 units in 2018, an augmentation from 4,056 in 2017. Majority of the growth is attributable to its SUV model Urus that escalated robustly from 121 units sold in 2018 to 2,565 units in 2018.
· Deliveries in the automotive segment of BMW group witnessed an upsurge of 1.5% in the second quarter of 2019 compared to the same period of the previous year. Substantial share of this growth is attributable to deliveries of Rolls-Royce that escalated by 36.3% during the similar timeline.
Occupant’s experience is a matter of utmost contemplation in premium segment vehicles. Therefore, air suspension with its aptitude to deliver comfortable and pleasant cabin experience is gaining tremendous scope of application. The impact of air suspension in the luxurious vehicles segment can be indicated by the circumstance that Mercedes-Benz has fashioned its very own ‘AIRMATIC air suspension system’ for perfect driving experience of its fleet of new C-Class cars.
The system is equipped with an AGILITY SELECT-switch that delivers a customized driving experience. This feature enables the occupants to select from numerous drive options that can be adjusted as per the individual. The band ranges from options namely "Comfort", "Sport", "Sport+", "ECO", and Individual".
19% of all commercial vehicles made worldwide are manufactured in Europe:
European Union in 2017 manufactured 16.9 million passenger cars. It held the second spot after the global leader, China. Similarly, more than 2.6 million commercial vehicles were manufactured in the European Union in 2018 that was 19% of the global production. In the commercial vehicles segment, there is a greater installation frequency in multi-axle buses and semi-trailers, for air suppressors, shock absorber, solenoid valve, and suspension systems. Also, innovative traders such as ThyssenKrupp, Continental, and SAF-Holland are continuously involved in innovating to familiarize the microprocessor technology for light and heavy-duty vehicles in in the arena of air suspension. These are some of the factors augmenting the growth of the air suspension market in Europe. On the other hand, Europe is a host to an array of companies dealing in the arena of premium segment vehicles. Consequently, Europe has the leading share of 37.67% in global air suspension market demand for the year 2018.
Rising fleet of electric vehicles globally is creating lucrative opportunities for electronically controlled air supply systems:
The global air suspension industry is witnessing development of active and intelligent suspension systems, and electronically controlled air suspension systems has established itself as a major trend in the market. Since the automakers are persistently emphasizing on electrification, there is a rising number of electric vehicle models around the world that mandates the supply of electronically controlled air suspension systems. Eelectric mobility is intensifying at a prompt pace. In 2018, the global electric car fleet exceeded 5.1 million, an upsurge of 2 million from 2017. Since heavy commercial vehicles are prime employers of air suspension systems, global rise in the fleet of electric buses is also adding impetus to the market. In 2018 the global electric bus flee reached 460,000 units. There are various developments globally that supports the employment of electric buses and duty vehicles. For example, the Clean Vehicles Directive by setting specific targets for 2025 and 2030, will quicken the implementation of electric buses (and other publicly procured vehicles) in EU countries. Similarly, India via its phase 2 of its Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles scheme is increasing the manufacture of EVs, concentrating on two-wheelers, fleet vehicles and buses. Hence, tracing opportunities in intensifying EV sales globally, WABCO Holdings Inc. in 2017 announced to supply its WABCO’s breakthrough electric Twin Compressor air suspension technology to a German passenger car maker, for the first time. The company equipped all of the customer’s premium electric sport utility vehicles (SUVs) in global series production starting in late 2018.
Air Suspension Market Companies:
Some of the key players with majority of global air suspension market shares are Continental AG, ThyssenKrupp AG, Firestone Industrial Products LLC, Hitachi Ltd., Wabco Holdings Inc., SAF-Holland, Hendrickson International Corporation, Accuair Suspension, and Mando Corporation.
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