Automotive Axle & Propeller Shaft Market: Opportunities & Current Trends

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The Automotive Axle and Propeller Shaft Market are projected to grow at a CAGR of 2.9% during the 2019-2025 forecast period, acquiring a market size to reach USD 35.0 billion by 2025 from USD 29.5 billion in 2019.

The market is mainly driven by the growing adoption of AWD vehicles, increasing vehicle production, as well as engineering advancements necessitated by automotive OEM’s.

Opportunities:

• Growing Market for AWD Vehicles
• Growing Demand for Aluminum Propeller Shaft
• Ongoing Trend for E-Mobility

Some of the key players in the automotive axle and propeller shaft market are ZF Friedrichshafen AG (Germany), Dana Incorporated (US), GKN PLC (UK), American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc. (US), Meritor, Inc. (U.S.), Showa Corporation (Japan), Hyundai Wia Corporation (South Korea), JTEKT Corporation (Japan), and GKN plc (UK).

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The majority of the automobiles use steel alloy for propeller shafts and axles. However, due to the increasing stringency of fuel-efficiency regulations, suppliers are focusing on implementing lightweight materials in their products; without compromising on strength. The use of aluminum and carbon fiber has been limited in these components due to the higher cost. With the increasing demand for fuel-efficiency, lightweight materials are expected to witness rising adoption in the automotive industry.  However, in the present market scenario, the rising demand for premium passenger cars, and light-duty vehicles would also become a growth opportunity for the players which manufactures axles and propeller shaft made up of lightweight materials.

The global demand for commercial vehicles has shown significant growth in recent years. According to OICA statistics, commercial vehicle sales have increased from 21.2 million units in 2012 to 26.0 million units in 2017. The growth can be attributed to factors such as increasing infrastructure spending, rising import-export trade, and growing e-commerce activities. Most of the heavy trucks and semi-trailers in Europe and North America are equipped with more than two live axles and tandem axles. Thus, rising commercial vehicle sales have further fueled the demand for axles in the coming years.

The global automotive axle and propeller market have also been witnessing growth, as these components are integral to vehicle. Innovation in these components would continue, given the growing need for improvement in fuel efficiency by lowering weight and technological advancements related to higher torque delivery guided by step-wise innovation introduced by large Tier I suppliers. This modernization would be driven by the need for new products by OEMs that are continually striving to improve fuel-efficiency and minimize energy losses. Owing to engineering advancements and increasing commercialization, the multi-piece propeller shaft market is projected to gain significant traction in the coming years.

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Growing adoption of advanced technologies and strategic developments and R&D activities will enable global as well as regional manufacturers, such as ZF Friedrichshafen, American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings, Dana Incorporated, GKN, and Showa Corporation to gain business opportunities from existing as well as untapped markets in the automotive axle and propeller shaft market.

Recent Developments:

In May 2019, Meritor announced plans to acquire AxleTech for approximately USD 175 million. The addition of AxleTech will enhance Meritor’s growth platform, bringing a highly complementary global product portfolio across the off-highway, defense, specialty, and aftermarket segments. AxleTech’s offerings include a full product line of independent suspensions, axles, braking solutions, and drivetrain components. These capabilities will enable Meritor to offer global customers a more comprehensive array of differentiated products and solutions while further diversifying the company’s portfolio.

In February 2019, ZF’s AxTrax AVE electric portal axle was awarded the 2019 EBUS Award in the category “Drives for Battery Buses.” AxTrax AVE electric portal axle makes it easier for bus manufacturers and public transport authorities to switch over to quiet, zero local emission drives. This driven axle can be operated by all-electric not only by battery or overhead lines but also in hybrid or fuel cell configurations. The flexibility in configuration options and the selection of energy source makes it the ideal solution for almost any urban environment.