Automotive drivetrains includes components which transfer power to the driving wheels of the vehicles. The drivetrain system includes the drive shafts, the wheels, the axles, the U joints, the CV joints, and the transmission of a vehicle. All these components which form a part of the drivetrain system are responsible for transmitting power or torque to the wheels to make the vehicle move forward. Drive shafts are long tubular steel structures which are linked to the transmission or gear box of a vehicle and helps in the rotary movement of the wheels. Universal joints or U joints are flexible pivots which transmits power to the wheels in a way which allows the wheels to move in varying angles. Similarly, constant velocity joints or CV joints are also part of the drive shafts. These joints can bend in any direction while allowing the wheels to move at a constant velocity. Axles are single rotating shafts which delivers power from the final drive assembly to the wheels. Transmissions are responsible for transmitting power from the engine to the drive shaft and the rear wheels. Therefore, the functions of all these components comprise the functions of a drivetrain, where transmission of power forms the integral part of the function of the system. Drivetrains are also sometimes referred to as powertrain or driveline. Powertrain comprises everything that is responsible for the vehicle’s movement while the driveline includes everything that comes in between the engine of the vehicle and its wheels. The difference between powertrain, driveline and the drivetrain lies in the absence of engine in a drivetrain.
Increasing demand and production of vehicles is one of the factors driving the growth of the automotive drivetrain market. Since the economic downturn of 2007-2008, the global automotive industry was held hostage. But from the year 2014, production and sales of automotive has improved considerably. Depreciation of drivetrain components also plays a crucial role in driving the automotive drivetrain market. Drivetrain components such as drive shafts, axles, and others, undergo sheer stress due to continuous rotary movement. This situation makes these components vulnerable to depreciation. However, a well-defined after sales market which is active re-manufacturing and replacement of drivetrain components will drive the growth trajectories of the drivetrain market.
Emergence of electric and hybrid vehicles may pose a threat to the drivetrain market as, these alternative fuel vehicles do not need drive shafts to function.
The automotive drivetrain market can be segmented based on types of drivetrain, types of vehicles and geography. By drivetrain types, the market has been segmented into All Wheel Drive (AWD), Front Wheel Drive (FWD), Rear Wheel drive (RWD) and 4 Wheel Drive (4WD). The FWD vehicles are fuel efficient and emits less carbon dioxide. In RWD vehicles, power from the engine is transferred to the rear wheels while the front wheels do not receive any power to function. However, RWD vehicles create better balance of weight. In 4WD vehicles, power from the engine is transferred to all the four wheels at the same time. In AWD vehicles, power from the engine is transferred to any of the two wheels of the vehicle. The AWD drivetrain provides the best grip out of the four types, however it is heavier than the other three types and therefore leads in more fuel consumption. Based on vehicle type, the segmentation includes, passenger cars, heavy commercial vehicles and light commercial vehicles. Passenger cars are mostly FWD whereas heavy commercial vehicles are RWD, AWD and 4WD. Based on geography the market has been segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (MEA), and Latin America. Asia Pacific holds the largest market share followed by Europe and North America. Asia Pacific is likely to experience a surge in its passenger cars segment owing to improved economic conditions such as, growth in GDP, reduced inflation rates, among others.
The leading companies operating in this market are, Aisin Seiki Co. Ltd. (Japan), American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc. (U.S.), BorgWarner Inc. (U.S.), GKN PLC (U.K.), Magna International Inc. (Canada), Dana Holding Corporation (U.S.), and JTEKT Corporation (Japan) among others.
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