Global Automotive Air Suspension Market - Segmented by End-user, Control type, Application, and Geography - Growth, Trends, and Forecast (2018 - 2023)
The suspension system of a car has two primary purposes, which is, to maintain contact between the wheel and the tarmac (to maintain traction) and to prohibit road shocks and undulations from reaching the passenger cabin. Over the years' suspension systems have evolved from leaf to coil-overs to the now trending fad of air suspension systems. Initially, their use was limited to commercial vehicles, luxury cars, and buses. This statement can be verified by the fact that almost all major bus manufacturers such as Volvo, Scania, Daimler, etc. use air suspensions in most of their buses.
Earlier control of air suspension system was done manually by switches at the helm of the driver, but the trend has been shifting towards electronically controlled air suspension systems (ECAS). Though manually controlled systems hold larger share, their electronic counterparts are growing at a faster rate. Wabco (formerly Meritor Wabco), one of the leading suppliers of electronically controlled suspension systems has witnessed a 30 percent rise in sales of OptiRide their ECAS system in China alone. This trend is bound to continue due to the rising adoption rate of air suspension systems in heavy-duty and commercial vehicles.
Air suspension systems also have high demand in the aftermarket as air ride kits, which many street riders deploy for ride adjustability, ride height change, etc. They are also used in track racing for the controllability and tunability. Although air suspension adoption rate is increasing in buses and commercial vehicles, passenger vehicles still do not deploy them because of their high-cost setup and increased expertise required for their service and maintenance. Some of the major issues with air suspensions include leaky bellows and electrical problems (with sensors, solenoids, control unit, relay). Future opportunities that manufacturers of ECAS can look at is the integration of different systems, such as, electronic stability program (ESP), Electronic stability control (ESC), etc. in the form of smart suspension systems.
Regarding market share, North America leads in the geographical segment because of high presence of luxury and commercial vehicles. It is followed by Europe and then APAC, APAC though being the largest market for vehicle sales is not on par because of the presence of economically weaker countries in the region. Dependent markets, such as rubber molded components market is also poised to experience a healthy growth owing to the demand for air suspension systems.
Key Developments in the Market
March 2018: Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo headed for production and it will be equipped with toughened fender liners and an air suspension system which raises the ride height by around 2 inches gives the show enhanced soft-road credibility
August 2017: Tesla’s new vehicle, Model 3 is expected to be equipped with a smart air suspension. This smart air suspension is linked to the dual motor configuration of Model 3
Major Players – DUNLOP SYSTEMS AND COMPONENTS, VIBRACOUSTIC, CONTINENTAL, HENDRICKSON INTERNATIONAL, amongst others.
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