The Automotive Steering Column is a device intended primarily for connecting the steering wheel to the steering mechanism or transferring the driver’s input torque from the steering wheel. The steering column consists of a collapsible housing containing a collapsible rotating shaft and is connected to the input shaft of the steering gear by a flexible joint. This allows the alignment, and reduces the transmission of road shocks back to the driver. Some of the steering columns have an intermediate shaft, which runs at about an oblique angle, from the column to the steering gear. Some manufacturers fit sensors and control units to the steering column, that provide information to steering control modules as part of an electric assisted or 4-wheel steering system.
The Global Steering Column Market can be segmented by system type into hydraulic steering, electric powered hydraulic steering and electric power steering. In 2014, electric power steering segment accounted for the largest share and is estimated to continue to grow till 2020. The hydraulic power steering segment is however projected to decline due to the large space required as well as low fuel efficiency. The improving technology and fuel efficiency provided by Electric Power Steering (EPS) is the major driver for this segment.
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According to IndustryARC Analysis, the global steering columns market is estimated to grow at a relatively sedate rate of around 1.7% to reach market revenue of around $15.7 bn in 2020.The steering column market is led by key companies such as Robert Bosch Automotive Steering GmbH, ZF Friedrichshafen, Nexteer Automotive, NSK Ltd. The steering column market growth is projected as automotive industry is exhibiting positive gains recovering from recession, with increase in the number of unit sales.
The Automotive Steering Column Market can be segmented based on the classification by Pivot Alignment into Tilt and Telescope Adjustable Steering Columns, Rake Adjustable Steering Columns, Tilt-Adjustable Steering Columns, Active-Energy Absorbing Steering Columns and Touch Control Electronic Transmission Shifter Steering Column. The market has been also analyzed based on vehicle type into passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles and light commercial vehicles. The passenger vehicle market holds the highest market share with 74% in 2014 due to customer demand for low fuel and power consumption as well as compact nature of these systems due to which heavy commercial vehicle division is also forecasted to see a higher growth through 2020. The growth is driven by increasing economy leading to a rising sports vehicle market, particularly in the APAC region.
The demand for high mileage and safer and more reliable vehicles has led to an improved growth in the steering column market. Technological advancements such as development of energy absorbing steering column is set to lead to a larger potential market for these systems. The economic crisis had a drastic effect on the sales of automobile manufacturers and the part suppliers as seen during 2008-2009. The automobile market has shown signs of recovery in 2014 and the market is projected to grow for the next few years.
Steering Column Market, By Geography, 2014-2020 ($M)
Source: IndustryARC Analysis, Expert Insights
Asia Pacific has grown to be the biggest market in 2014 followed by America and Europe. However the APAC region is poised to continue to grow till 2020 and is due to growing economy leading to high demand for automobiles across key countries such China and India. The RoW region is also poised to exhibit high growth due to growing automotive market particularly in the Middle East.
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The top five companies in the global steering systems market include JTEKT Corporation, Robert Bosch Automotive Steering GmbH, ZF Friedrichshafen AG, NSK, Mando and Nexteer. These companies held a combined share of 75% in the steering systems market in the fiscal year ended 2014. The steering system companies have looked to expansions, and product launches as key strategies for growth. Expansions have been completed in order to enter fast growing markets in APAC. For instance, at Year ending of Nov 2014, ZF Friedrichshafen AG has acquired TRW AUTOMOTIVE to augment their product portfolio and also to develop innovative products by leveraging the core competencies, thereby enhancing their product portfolio. New product launches and agreements have been undertaken in order to enhance the product portfolio and strengthen core capabilities.
There is a significant global demand for steering column systems with electric power steering leading the charge. The economic growth, particularly in APAC countries, has led to a growing automotive market; thereby leading to a growing power steering market. Many vehicles come equipped with electric power steering systems to appease the demand. Thus, the future of the electric power steering market looks extremely bright and stable, and is forecast to be a good segment for future investments.
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