COVID-19 IMPACT SURVEY MAY 2020
The global market for Automotive Chassis is projected to reach US$66.7 billion by 2025, driven by stable production of passenger cars and commercial vehicles. In the passenger cars sector, the projected demand for electric vehicles (EVs) is acting as a key growth catalyst. Defined as the loadbearing framework of the vehicle, the chassis combines engine, power-transmission system, wheels, axles and suspension system in a single structurally independent frame. It represents the most fundamental mechanical system of the vehicle. A key trend in chassis design and production is the migration towards modular vehicle platforms wherein multiple vehicle models share the same undercarriage design and architecture. When a single chassis design is used to manufacture differently-styled vehicle bodies, it reduces cost and complexity of producing myriad vehicle models. Multiple lines of vehicle models can be designed using the same assembly line infrastructure. It allows larger number of models to be produced in a single plant and significantly slices vehicle development costs. The modular approach allows dynamic reorganization of manufacturing capacity and also reduces the burden of overcapacity. It allows OEMs to flexibly adjust and adapt production processes and system to align with changing demand for each model type. In the commercial vehicles sector especially, the need for rapid vehicle prototyping is driving the prominence and popularity of flexible rolling chassis wherein a single base vehicle platform can be used to create several vehicle options. Against the backdrop of the optimistic outlook for the future of EVs, OEMs are now focusing on developing common chassis/platforms that can be shared between hybrid vehicles and fully electric vehicles. Volkswagen Group has set into motion a new era in platform management with the development of the US$60 billion Modular Transverse Matrix Platform (MQB). MQB is a vehicle platform technology common to several of the company's models ranging from hatchbacks to SUVs. All cars irrespective of varying wheelbase and outer body dimension, built on the MQB platform share common engine positioning, pedal box and front axle.
Monocoque chassis is a dominant chassis type and widely used for producing small SUV's, luxury sedans, and hatchbacks. Also known as Unibody, this chassis type offers advantages such as higher levels of safety; lower center of gravity and greater ability to design agile, aerodynamic vehicles; superior ride performance; lighter framework and greater fuel efficiency. The ongoing engineering design focus shed on lightweighting, fuel efficiency and lower emissions, favors continued adoption of the Monocoque chassis. The lower floor plan of this chassis design means that the vehicle is closer to the ground and therefore allows building of taller bodies with easy exit and entry into the vehicle. Popular materials used for manufacturing Monocoque chassis include steel, mild steel, aluminum and aluminum alloy. Interest in carbon fiber is also surging, although its current use is confined to just formula one racing cars. New roles for chassis will emerge as smart cars become increasingly popular and autonomous cars inch closer to commercialization. Interestingly, higher levels of vehicle autonomy will influence chassis design and complexity. From chassis sensors to support Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)/ X-by-wire to multi-material chassis construction, new chassis concepts will need to be developed. Also, R&D investments in chassis design will be skewed towards adapting chassis design to electrification of the vehicle. Chassis for EVs will need to be designed to support battery packs and is this regard skateboard-like designs are growing in popularity. The United States, China and Europe represent large markets worldwide with a combined share of 66.8% of the market. China also ranks as the fastest growing market with a CAGR of 6.9% over the analysis period supported by the fact that the country remains a cash cow for mass market and premium cars. Also, rising domestic automakers in the country are strongly focused on dominating the world's next era of driving which opens opportunities for innovative component systems and sub-systems.