While taking a turn in any vehicle, the driving wheels need to rotate at different rotational speeds, i.e. the outer wheel needs to rotate faster to compensate for extra distance. On the contrary, the inner wheel needs to slow down as the distance to be covered is less. Automotive differential system is a gear train that splits engine power and torque into two components and assists the vehicle to turn smoothly. It also helps avoid slipping of the outer wheel during a turn. Automotive differential system primarily consists of gears and axle rods/shafts arranged specifically inside a casing to split the engine power & torque differentially to both the driving wheels of the vehicle. A differential is a crucial system and is available in front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, and all-wheel drive vehicles. The differential system also improvises the handling and cornering of the vehicle.
The differential system plays an important role in a vehicle. Increasing sales of vehicles, passenger and commercial, is the primary factor driving the demand for differential systems. Sales of passenger and commercial vehicle crossed 93.9 million mark in 2016. This was approximately 4.5% higher than that in 2015. The overall rise in demand for vehicles is anticipated to increase globally due to the several finance options and disposable income. Furthermore, the precise turning control without slipping makes the system vital in a vehicle. Moreover, new technologies, such as electronic traction control, provide much better control. Wheels adjust according to terrain, wet roads, and slippery surfaces. Automotive differential systems virtually have no alternatives; however, automotive differential systems can be internally substituted based on the different types of differentials.
Based on type of differential, the automotive differential system market can be segmented into open differential, locked differential, limited slip differential, and others. Each of the type offers specific advantages over other systems. Furthermore, limited slip differential can be sub-segmented into clutch plate limited slip differential and viscous limited slip differential. In general, regular passenger cars such as family sedans, vans, and economy cars etc. are mostly equipped with open differential. On the other hand, locked differentials are usually, but not necessarily, used in off-road vehicles. Based on vehicle, the market can be divided into passenger vehicles, which includes vehicles such as sedans, minivans, hatchbacks, (multi, sports, etc.) utility vehicles, compact utility vehicles & sedans, and estate wagons; light commercial vehicles; and heavy commercial vehicles. In terms of vehicle type, the differential system market can be segregated into I.C. engine vehicles, electric vehicles, and hybrid vehicles. The I.C. engine vehicles segment can be further divided into Spark Ignition (S.I.) engine (Gasoline etc.) and Compression Ignition (C.I.) engine (Diesel).
In terms of geography, the global automotive differential system market can be classified into Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific is the key region of the automotive differential system. It is a manufacturing hub. Asia Pacific recorded sale of more than 46.87 million units in 2016. This was followed by 25.54 million units sold in the Americas in the year. Similarly, Europe also accounts for substantial share in terms of sale of vehicles. Thus, collectively, North America, Asia Pacific, and Europe are major markets for vehicles and thus by extension for automotive differential systems. Countries in Asia Pacific such as China, South Korea, and India are prominent manufacturers and assemblers of vehicles. Thus, demand for differential systems in these countries is anticipated to increase in the near future.
Key players operating in the global automotive differential systems market include Eaton Corporation; GKN PLC; Auburn Gear, LLC; Powertrax; and American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc.
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