From USD 4,918.49 million in 2021 to USD 6,931.39 million in 2027, the global automotive air suspension market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.9% between 2017 and 2027.
The air suspension system is a type of vehicle suspension that combines springs with pneumatic (air) struts, usually with a shock absorber. It's a viable alternative to mechanical suspension systems. The utilization of robust air springs, which allow for height modification as needed, is the main benefit. In addition, they provide superior ride quality and have less unsprung weight than conventional suspensions. Furthermore, these systems are incredibly durable due to the lack of moving elements in an air suspension system while converting from a static configuration to full mobility mode.
Air springs are used in air suspension systems. The installation and design of air suspension systems differ according to the make and model, but the essential idea is the same. The metal spring (coil or leaf) is removed, and an airbag, also known as an air spring, is fitted or manufactured to replace the factory spring. The suspension can be adjusted up or down (lifted or lowered) depending upon the air pressure.
The introduction of compressed air suspension (CAS) and weightless systems (air suspensions without auxiliary equipment or height adjustment) has improved body comfort on bumpy roads, particularly for loads. Designers that see this technology as an appealing solution for providing optimal riding attributes at low prices can take advantage of the added comfort, safety, and design options.
The air spring pressure is usually chosen to give a comfortable ride up to the maximum vehicle load. When moving heavy loads, it provides greater consistency. The air suspension system maintains vehicles' level from side to side, which is especially important while loading cargo that is difficult to level. As a result, body roll is reduced when turning bends and curves.
Due to their better fatigue resistance, air spring elements frequently outlive road springs. The considerable degree of freedom available during the design process allows for the implementation of optimal solutions that consider a variety of variables such as ride comfort, safety, durability, and cost-effectiveness. In the case of a combined loading condition, particularly when the vehicle has an elevated wheel load on one side, resulting in a relatively high body lean angle, there may be insufficient clearance between the vehicle's underside and the road.
Mechanical problems can also occur with air suspension systems. The suspension may malfunction due to internal corrosion, moisture damage, or an air fitting failure of the air tubing connected to the air system. Air spring leaks are very prevalent and can cause compressor burnout. If left unattended, leaks in the air suspension system can significantly impact the vehicle's performance, and it may not be safe to drive at all.
Replacement parts are tough to obtain since their manufacturers have discontinued many parts for an automobile's suspension system, especially those necessary for one with air suspension components; they are difficult to find. A complete air suspension system costs more than a standard spring and shock system.
Air suspension in automobiles has grown in popularity and market share worldwide. This is due to increased demand for such items to fulfill rising transportation needs, particularly in Asia-Pacific, where heavy vehicles such as trucks and dumpers are popular. These vehicles require a reliable suspension system to give passengers comfort and convenience when traveling long distances with heavy loads.
Air suspension systems provide a decent driving experience and a smooth ride quality on uneven roads. Besides, they also improve a vehicle's appearance by taking up less interior space than standard coil or leaf spring setups, which demand more internal area for installation.
The market is driven by high automobile production rates in APAC, rising demand for energy-efficient automobiles, and increasing demand from emerging nations. Due to their fuel efficiency benefits, air suspension systems are increasingly used in heavy vehicles such as trucks, buses, and dumpers.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a wide range of effects across the globe, and it turned out to be the automotive industry's worst fear. In 2020, Europe manufactured 10.8 million passenger vehicles and 2.1 million commercial vehicles. The European car sector experienced a fall of more than 20% in 2020. The demand for automobile air suspension is linked to the number of vehicles produced, and thus, the market for air suspension had a similar effect on demand.
Production output changed more than sales volume due to the closure of plants and the suspension of operations by many automakers. In particular, Western Europe, North America, and Southeast Asia experienced plant closures in April, restricting production in these areas. In May, production in Japan and South Korea nearly halved, while production and sales in China rebounded dramatically.
The automobile and transportation industries were clearly the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The situation is, however, improving. Automobile dealerships are becoming increasingly crowded, and many are trying to find more inventory to sell.
As most nations have exited the lockdown or reduced the lockdown-related regulations, the global automotive sector has begun to recover significantly. It has been discovered that most car manufacturers and dealers have resumed full operations in specific regions and intend to restore manufacturing facilities as soon as possible.
By component type, the electronic control module holds the largest market share at USD 1,186.09 million and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 6.6% between 2017–2027. The central controller for the Electronic Damping Control (EDC) system is the Electronic Suspension Control Module (ESCM). The ESCM keeps track of driving circumstances and vehicle behavior, then adjusts damping control to improve ride comfort and dynamic stability while reducing pitch and roll motions.
The global market is divided into electronically controlled and non-electronically controlled segments based on technology. With a market value of USD 3,108.40 million, Non-Electrically Controlled is expected to increase at a CAGR of 3.1% from 2017 to 2027. Non-electronically controlled air suspension for automobiles and trucks has long been the topic of research and development.
Height control valves are often constructed as pressure valves and have a broad flow cross-section. Low-pressure air springs, which are less expensive to create, are utilized to save energy. The goal of the invention is thus to produce a superior non-electron-controlled air suspension that allows for dependable operation with low-pressure air springs.
Based on vehicle type, the market is segmented into light commercial vehicles, heavy commercial vehicles, and others. The need for air suspension goods has been boosted further by increased manufacturing activity in China. Additionally, as the use of light-duty cars has increased over time, the light-duty vehicle air suspension industry has benefited. Light Commercial Vehicles dominated the market at a share of USD 2,608.98 million and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 6.3% between 2017–2027.
Asia-Pacific dominates the market at a share of USD 1,870.09 million and is forecasted to grow at a 7.3% CAGR by 2027. Due to the rising automobile production rates in the APAC region, China has the largest market for automotive air suspension systems, which is predicted to increase at a robust CAGR of 8.1% over the projected period. Compared to leaf spring suspensions, air suspensions have lower NVH levels, providing customers with improved driving comfort and fuel efficiency without sacrificing vehicle quality. This is boosting their demand in the region even more.
Europe holds the second-largest share in the market, with a market share of 29.14%. Growing demand for luxury automobiles across Europe, rising replacement demands due to high vehicle age, and increased government investments in road infrastructure are likely to propel this industry forward. Further, the growing popularity of electric air suspensions is projected to fuel demand in Europe. It also has a well-developed automotive sector and is one of the world's top automobile manufacturing hubs. Countries like Germany and Spain account for more than half of all passenger car production in the continent.
Some of the key players in the global automotive air suspension market are Continental AG, Thyssenkrupp AG, Magneti Marelli S.p.A, Hitachi Ltd, Mando Corporation, WABCO, BWI Group, Dunlop Systems and Components, Stemco, Vibracoustics, Lord Corporation, Firestone Industrial Products, Hendrickson USA, LLC.