Automotive chassis refers to the skeletal frame or structure of an automobile over which automotive parts and components and engines are placed. Designed to be lightweight, ductile and aerodynamic, the chassis system is the frame that offers strength as well as rigidity to the vehicle. The frame structure is generally made of carbon steel or aluminum alloy, materials that are subjected to processes such as welding, forging and stamping to obtain the final structure.
By chassis type, monocoque type chassis constitutes the largest category in the global automotive chassis market. Monocoque chassis system involves use an aluminum body shell comprising welded structure components. The market will continue to hold major share of the market through the analysis period, due to its widespread utilization in passenger vehicles as well as light commercial vehicles.
Given its light weight construction, the monocoque chassis type has a major role to play in enhancing overall fuel efficiency of the vehicle. Unlike ladder and backbone systems that define only the vehicle’s stress-bearing portion and required body to be built around the system, monocoque chassis system is a single-piece structure that describes the vehicle’s overall design and is created through welding of various parts.
Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the global market for Automotive Chassis estimated at US$56.3 Billion in the year 2022, is projected to reach a revised size of US$71.9 Billion by 2026, registering a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1% over the analysis period. Europe is projected to reach US$17 Billion by 2026. China is expected to spearhead growth and emerge as the fastest growing regional market with a CAGR of 9.5% over the analysis period.
Chassis system is made from materials such as aluminum, steel, cast iron, magnesium alloy and ferrous metals. By type of raw material used in chassis system, aluminum alloy continues to record strong gains in the market. The adoption of regulations to improve eco-friendliness of vehicles and the steady shift towards electric vehicles are factors fueling demand for aluminum alloy-induced chassis systems among automotive OEMs.
Besides the use of traditional metals, automotive chassis systems are also being made of advanced materials. For instance, Ariel developed titanium-based chassis system for use in its Atom sports car, which led to a 40% reduction in weight compared to a steel based chassis system. In addition to weight reduction, titanium use in chassis systems also leads to significant increase in fuel efficiency, which is a vital aspect in motorsport vehicles.
The focus has also shifted onto the use of non-metal materials such as carbon fiber, conductive fiber and conductive powder, given the materials’ ability to increase strength and reduce manufacturing cost. With cost of traditional materials rising, the focus is on exploring alternative materials including resins, metal alloys and fibers, as they are lightweight, and capable of providing high bearing strength for the payload.
The shift towards electric vehicles, due to the implementation of strict emission control regulations and increasingly volatile fuel prices, are also driving growth in the chassis market. For EVs, the type of chassis systems needed is considerably different from that of internal combustion engine-based vehicles. Consequently, manufacturers are focused on development of chassis systems that can be used in electric vehicles. With the sales of EVs forecast to grow rapidly in the coming years, there is tremendous potential for EV chassis systems market.
Growing production of cars especially in developing countries will drive opportunities for automotive chassis, given the fact that the global automotive industry is expected to derive over 65% of its revenues and profits from emerging markets by the year 2022. The recent years witnessed the setting up of new body and chassis manufacturing facilities in emerging countries for structural welded assemblies for global OEMs.
Globally, Asia-Pacific and China collectively account for a substantial share of the global automotive chassis market. Over the years, the production volume of vehicles in these regions has been witnessing a steady growth, led by the growing efforts of regional automotive OEMs to address the needs of domestic as well as overseas markets. There is in particular rapid growth in demand for light weight vehicles, which is driving demand for light weight chassis systems among auto OEMs in the region.
With Asia-Pacific also at the forefront of EVs adoption compared to North America and Europe, the demand for chassis systems used in electric vehicles is also expected to grow rapidly in the region. The growing efforts of a number of EV makers to establish or expand presence in Asia-Pacific countries also augur well for the region’s automotive chassis systems market. The steadily rising demand for vehicles in major regional economies such as China and India will continue to provide positive outlook for the market.