According to the latest market report published by Fact.MR, growing penetration of air springs in luxury passenger vehicles continues to open new growth opportunities for manufacturers. Traditionally limited to heavy commercial vehicles, end-user preference for comfort, glide ride, and suspension adjustment are impacting where the revenue is going in the air springs landscape. Stakeholders in the air springs market must consider the evolutions in this marketplace if they are to rapidly adapt to the new status quo.
Fact.MR’s research study projects the global air springs market to surpass US$ 4 Bn in revenues by 2026. In terms of volume, over 33,000’000 units of air springs are likely to be sold by the end of the forecast period.
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End-Users List High Upfront Cost and Relatively Lower Lifecycle as Key Barriers to Adoption
According to the analysis carried out by Fact.MR’s automotive research team, high upfront costs and relatively lower lifecycles remain the key barriers to widespread adoption of air springs for end-users. Although the analysts have a bullish long-term outlook, the mantra for success is to mitigate high OEM upfront costs when compared to the aftermarket.
OEMs Accounted for 52% Volume Sales in 2017, Aftermarket to Reign Supreme by 2026
Sales of air springs are evenly spread out in both OEM and aftermarket channels, however the former accounted for a higher volume and lower revenue share in 2017. The prevailing scenario in the sales channel is likely to be transformed during the assessment period on account of competitive offerings by aftermarket players. By 2026, aftermarket is likely to reign supreme – both in terms of value and volume.
Asia Pacific’s position in the global auto industry continues to gain ground. The region is home to the world’s two most prolific auto markets – China and India. According to data from the United Nations, India’s population will even with that of China by 2022 – collectively these countries will have 2.8 billion people.
Unsurprisingly, these two countries have emerged as lucrative markets for not just the automotive industry, but a wide gamut, ranging from healthcare to consumer goods. According to data from SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers), the auto industry grew by 14.78% y-o-y in 2018 over 2017. The Chinese Central Government is optimistic that automotive output will reach nearly 30 million units by 2020.
Rolling Lobe Remains the Preferred Choice for OEMs
Sales of rolling lobe air springs continue to remain higher than convolutes (single and multi), and sleeves. The marked preference for rolling lobes can be attributed to their small size, low weight, and ability to handle pressure at 1:1 ratio. Rolling lobe air springs have a piston which enables a flexible member to roll along the piston’s surface. The key focus areas for rolling lobe manufacturers are,
- Improving the ozone resistance and service life
- Reduction in overall weight and mitigation of flex cracking of air springs
- Reducing the vibration, misalignment, while increasing the longevity with a secure mounting experience
- Boosting equipment longevity and fuel-efficiency
“Defence is Best Offense” in the Highly Competitive Air Springs Market
There is a pervasive realization among air spring manufacturers that if they intend to remain competitive in a fragmentally consolidated global market, they need to secure clients for long term. Either it is innovation they can offer in the existing product lines as Continental Corp and Neopos did, or it has to be through WABCO way. Some of the key notable developments in the air springs marketplace include,
- WABCO Holdings Inc., a key participant in the global air springs market, continues to consolidate its position in the electric-powered passenger vehicles segment. The company entered into an agreement with a leading German car maker in 2017, with production expected to start in late 2018.
- In a bid to strengthen its presence in the aftermarket and cover a range of commercial vehicle operations, Meritor Inc. launched a new line of air springs, including double convoluted, cab-mount, and reversing (rolling lobe).
- Continental Corp. highlighted its Smart Air Springs for heavy duty vehicles, including trucks and trailers in late 2017. The Smart Air Springs showcased by the company are equipped with a range of features to reduce the overall weight. These innovative air spring have been made from polyamide instead of steel or aluminum.
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