The global automotive differential market size was at USD 19.76 billion in 2021. It is projected to reach USD 34.83 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 6.5% during the forecast period (2022–2030). The differential is a vital component of a car's powertrain because it enables the individual drive wheels to engage in turning and driving actions successfully. A differential is a system that splits the torque produced by an engine into two separate outputs. A differential system is found in every contemporary passenger, commercial, and electric car. All-wheel drive vehicles need a differential between the front and rear wheels or between each pair of driving wheels. When a part-time four-wheel-drive vehicle's front and rear wheels are locked together, both wheels rotate at the same speed since there is no differential between the two sets of wheels. The production of automobiles is wholly responsible for requiring differentials to be installed in motor vehicles.
The increasing popularity of all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive vehicles, as well as the rising demand for commercial vehicles, will drive growth in the global market for automotive differentials. Nevertheless, over the last two years, there has been an increase in the number of automobiles made with electric motors built into the wheels while both automobile production and sales have decreased. In addition, acquiring a contract or agreement is the primary strategy for getting an advantage over competitors. Concurrently, the production of electronically limited-slip differentials is anticipated to contribute to expanding the global market for automobile differentials.
Manufacturing automobiles has seen significant technological advancements in drivetrains, powertrains, safety, and vehicle stability. Customers demand that their vehicles function optimally in high-end driving situations and with greater production efficiency. In addition, end consumers' demand outlook has evolved toward more luxury, increased comfort, and improved driving dynamics. The evolving need of end consumers is giving four-wheel drive (4WD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicles a chance to achieve higher levels of safety and vehicle dynamic performance. In addition, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are concentrating on developing these drive systems to meet the ever-evolving demands of end customers. These drive systems need two or three differential assemblies to perform their driving responsibilities.
The increased demand for commercial vehicles in developing nations is anticipated to demonstrate spectacular growth due to urbanization and increased industrial production in the coming years. It is expected that these reasons would be the primary drivers of this increase in the market. Additionally, the Indian automobile sector saw a phenomenal rise in the market for commercial vehicles. For all three classes of commercial vehicles—light, medium, and heavy—this was the general situation. When it comes to activities related to driving, commercial vehicles, which are often rear-wheel-drive vehicles, need to have differential assemblies capable of delivering exceptional performance.
Electric vehicles are propelled by in-wheel electric motors that give torque straight to the wheels without differential. A producer of electric mobility, GEM Motors is also focusing on creating GEM in-wheel electric motors for potential customers in Switzerland, France, Sweden, Germany, and Italy. In recent years, the demand for and manufacturing of electric vehicles has expanded substantially, as electric vehicles provide several advantages over gasoline. In IC engine-powered vehicles, components such as fan belts, oil, air filters, head gaskets, timing belts, cylinder heads, and spark plugs require replacement, making electric vehicles the best option. Therefore, the increased production of cars with electric motors will likely hurt the differential market.
A car equipped with an electronic limited-slip differential has enhanced traction, helpful whether the road is dry or wet. It also improves the vehicle's handling, making it more suitable for high-performance automobiles. The development of electronically limited-slip differentials is currently the primary focus of research and development efforts at many of the world's leading vehicle manufacturers. For example, Hyundai Wia Corporation increased the capacity of its Changwon plant in Korea to produce electronically limited-slip differential (ELSD).
In addition, Eaton has introduced the most recent model of its electronically limited-slip differential, a system for managing traction that acts quickly. This innovative differential is fully networked with the car's braking system, which improves the driving dynamics, comfort, and stability of the vehicle whether it is being driven on or off-road.
The global automotive differential market is segmented by Drive Type, Vehicle Type, And Ion Type.
The front-wheel-drive (FWD) is the most dominant automotive differential and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.2% during the forecast period. The front-wheel-drive axle is a set of electric axles installed in the frontal frame of a vehicle and directly bolted to various engine-area components. A front-wheel-drive electric axle reduces a vehicle's weight, manufacturing cost, and fuel consumption. The location of the engine and transmission components directly over the front-wheel-drive (FWD) axle improves the vehicle's traction on slick roads.
The mechanism of a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) axle is opposite to that of a front-wheel-drive (FWD) axle. This axle set transfers the vehicle's powerplant and weight to the back of the car. Due to the separation of the axle, engine, and transmission components, rear-wheel-drive also delivers superior vehicle balance and handling compared to the forward-wheel industry. In addition, the primary advantage of an RWD axle is that it distributes a vehicle's weight across all its tires, boosting its performance.
All-wheel drive (AWD) axle set is an expensive, sophisticated drive system that provides more power and control than other wheel drive systems. In addition, this technology offers higher traction power and improved handling on various surfaces. It helps tow automobiles, off-road automobiles, and sport utility vehicles.
A passenger car is a motor vehicle designed to transport passengers to their destination. This class includes all automotive differentials installed in passenger vehicles. These vehicles are expected to provide spectacular growth prospects for industry participants. The production of passenger vehicles directly influences the demand for automotive differentials.
A commercial vehicle is a motor car designed to transport goods and passengers to their destination and is used for business reasons. This class encompasses all automotive differential systems fitted on LCVs and HCVs. The automotive differentials for the electric vehicles market are anticipated to exhibit a lucrative development, owing to a rise in demand for electric vehicles due to stringent pollution rules in various nations.
Open locking is the superior automotive differential and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.6 % during the forecast period. An open differential consists of two-axle halves, each with a gear, joined by a third gear to make three straight sides. This is the most popular vehicle differential gear layout. Open differential benefits include minimum torque management and power to the most miniature traction wheel.
Locking differentials are standard in off-road vehicles. Depending on the vehicle's technology, this open differential can be locked to form a fixed axle, controlled manually or electrically. Heavy-duty trucks, racing vehicles, and performance cars use locking differentials.
Limited-slip differential promotes faster cornering by shifting torque between the driven wheels, maximizing traction, and reducing wheelspin. Limited-slip differential combines open and locked differentials for high-end automotive applications.
The global automotive differential market is primarily classified into three regions, namely North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
Asia-Pacific was the highest contributor to the global automotive differential market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.2% during the forecast period. Leading automakers are developing automotive differential systems to improve vehicle performance, traction control, and stability. The development of electronically restricted slip differentials is another market growth prospect. This region's contribution to the worldwide market is relatively low. It is expected to expand over the projected period due to growth in the automotive sector and rising demand for commercial vehicles.
North America, including the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, will considerably increase in differential demand. Leading luxury automakers are offering new cars with improved features and revolutionary differentials, which will boost the North American automotive differential industry. Porsche Cars North America, Inc. introduced the 718 Boxster T and 718 Cayman T with mechanical limited-slip differential.
The growing car industry and commercial vehicle demand will drive the automotive differential market in Europe. OEMs produce vehicle differentials. Audi, a luxury car manufacturer, released a new performance-focused Audi Q8 SUV S model in Europe with a torque-vectoring rear differential and limited-slip center differential.
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