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Automotive Product Finder Magazine | Wheels achieving magical combination of lightweight and safety
Wheels achieving magical combination of lightweight and safety
Slow EV roll-out by auto makers is delaying the switch to EVs
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Increasing vehicle production along with proliferating consumer preference for comfort and fuel-efficient vehicles will propel growth in the automotive wheel market. Choice and utilisation of appropriate wheels based on vehicle models, size, and price specifications form an integral part of the vehicle layout. Economical pricing, heavy load carrying capabilities, lower weight, and resistance to corrosion from external factors are among the prominent features that will continue to aid the manufacturers in gaining increased consumer acquisition. This article looks at the trends in the automotive wheel technology.
Rising vehicle ownership and registrations across the globe, owing to increasing disposable income are playing a major role in the industry expansion. Moreover, high penetration of auto finance companies, with easier leasing and credit availability are positively influencing the automobile ownership growth. Improved vehicle aesthetics in conjunction with performance improvement achieved through high performance and customized wheels, are expected to favour the automotive wheel market size over the study timeframe.
According to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA), as of 2017, the global vehicle production accounted for around 97.3 million units, and Asia Pacific contributed for over 50 per cent of the total global production. Rising vehicle ownerships along with continuous support from the government for adoption of alternative fuelled vehicles are further supporting the automotive wheel market expansion till 2024.
Automotive wheel aftermarket is set to witness around 5 per cent CAGR over the next five years. Increasing average vehicle age and proliferation of online B2C automotive parts and accessories sales are among the key factors expanding the aftermarket growth. Moreover, increasing ease of aftermarket accessibility along with increasing adoption of online web portals for component sales are further propelling the automotive aftermarket wheel market share.
Passenger cars accounted for over 70 per cent of the global automotive wheel market share and are expected to dominate the industry share during the forecast period. Passenger car OEMs are increasingly adopting concave European designs and machined faces coupled with clean lines and styling for optimum vehicle performance and aesthetics. Moreover, industry participants offering milled window designs and painted products have witnessed considerable surge owing to growing demands for these types of finishes. Ease of aftermarket availability of these products will provide strong support to the industry growth.
LCVs accounted for a revenue share of around 20 per cent in 2017. Advent of hub & spoke model in emerging economies is providing lucrative opportunity for the sales of goods carriage and transportation vehicles. Moreover, the requirement to sustain impact of the potholes and unevenness will favour the deployment of strong and robust automotive wheels in the LCV segment.
Globally automakers are trying to build light weight automotive. Wheels which take care of aesthetics, safety and even emissions have to achieve daunting task, meeting all the said requirements. Dr. B.V.Ramana Murthy, Dean-Academics Gayatri Vidya Parishad College of Engineering, believes, “The challenge to achieve lesser emissions by reducing weight will prevail in both ICE and electric vehicle, until a cost-effective substitute is invested or discovered. Today wheel manufacturers supply OEMs with a deal comprising of wheel rim and the tyre. The combined weight is given to the OEM. Thus, wheel manufacturers have an opportunity of a very little design flexibility.”
“If a wheel maker develops a rim with higher weights and tyres with lesser weight, it will be risky on the consumer’s part, if the right recommended tyre is not purchased. It will affect efficiency. Thus OEM suppliers have to attain standards set by their OEM clients,” adds Murthy.
Emissions and regulatory complianc
Stringent emissions and fuel economy regulations are driving the requirement for utilization of lightweight components in vehicles. For instance, the EU is committed to reducing at least 20 per cent CO2 emissions by 2020, generating increased installations requirement for aluminium alloy wheels. Increasing consumer inclination towards car individualization from automotive manufacturers including diamond cut and gloss paint wheels are further expanding the automotive wheel market growth till 2024.
Stringent regulatory compliance and trade tariffs for manufacturers and suppliers may hamper the market growth. Additionally, higher costs involved with raw materials and factory set-up may further restrict the automotive wheel market penetration. Government of India extended the anti-dumping duty on selected four-wheeler aluminium alloy wheels manufacturers from China, South Korea, and Thailand for five years, thereby encouraging the local manufacturing of these products, generating employment, and focusing on the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
Utilisation of aluminium, carbon composite structures, and magnesium for manufacturing automotive wheels improves their performance capabilities in conjunction with weight reduction. For instance, in March 2015, DSM and ESE Carbon Company collaboratively introduced light carbon fiber wheels that have higher axle load carrying capacity. This reduces acceleration time, improves handling, fuel efficiency, and offers relatively smooth rides. The growing demand for specified requirements with respect to diameter and material suited for different vehicles will further boost the market share.
Aluminium automotive wheel market segment accounted for the maximum share in 2017. This share is primarily attributed to the benefits offered by the material including lower weight, superior heat conductivity and improved anti-corrosion properties. Amendments in regulatory policies to promote fuel-efficient vehicles are encouraging automobile OEMs to invest in R&D and introduce light weight wheels, positively influencing the market share till 2024.
Tarun Monga, Co-founder & Director, Plati India Private Limited, believes, “In the last decade alloy wheels have been celebrated across the range of passenger cars. While aluminium being the major element, cost fluctuations affects industry margins. Among trends in wheels, the size of the rim has increased in last decade. With electric vehicles also require tyres with the considerably large rim size. Metal or alloys are recommended for better cost. Carbon fibre is the lightest material with durability features but is not well accepted due to the cost.”
Monga further suggests that more research make carbon fibre could have been the key but such projects have been dropped due to the environmental concerns involved in it and metals on the other hand have good recyclability value and options.
Steel wheels witnessed a demand of over 150 thousand units in 2017. Lower costs of the car wheels along with easier availability across a wide network of dealerships across the globe are boosting the industry share over the projected timeframe. Additionally, the standard fitment of steel wheels across multiple vehicle models along with improved durability and easier repairability are augmenting the market size till 2024.
OEM segment is expected to dominate the automotive wheels market share over the next two years. Increasing automobile production is among the prominent factors fuelling the segment demand.
Many leading wheel manufacturers are aiming at producing reliable, safe and innovative products using cost-effective but strong materials like aluminium as well as innovative options like carbon fiber.
International Organization Of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers
Dean-Academics Gayatri Vidya Parishad College Of Engineering
ICE And Electric Vehicle
Aluminium Automotive Wheel Market
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