Chassis is the skeletal frame of the vehicle which supports the components and sub-assemblies of the vehicle. The chassis is the key frame which provides rigidity and strength to the vehicle. Typically, carbon steel or aluminum alloy undergoes a variety of processes such as forging, stamping, and welding in order to obtain the frame structure. The Car manufacturer Ariel developed a titanium chassis for its Atom sports car that is 40% lighter than the steel chassis. The usage of titanium in chassis building leads to a reduction in weight and increase in fuel efficiency and titanium market is projected to expand particularly in motorsport vehicles.
Demand for lightweight solutions in order to decrease CO2 emissions has increased. The current vehicle generation in Europe are 12% lighter than the previous generation vehicle. Thus, the demand for lightweight chassis is estimated to rise. Asia and Latin America are witnessing an increase in production of vehicles due to the rise in vehicle production and economic growth in these regions. This in turn is estimated to boost the automotive chassis market in these regions. The monocoque chassis structure incorporates crumple zone in the body shells, thus improving crash safety. Development in technology has led to utilization of metals such as carbon fiber and glass composites.
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The recent development of Ultralight Steel Auto Body (ULSAB) achieves 80% improvement in torsional rigidity and saves 25% mass. The future trends in the chassis include incorporation of more safety modules as developed by Continental AG. Rise in demand for electric vehicles has propelled the development of lightweight and robust chassis in order to mount electric motors and batteries. The lightweight aluminum chassis market is projected to expand in key electric car markets such as China, Japan, and Germany.
The monocoque chassis structure is limited to use in light passenger vehicles with low gross weight. The structure is not rigid enough to support load carrying functions and thus, in heavy passenger and commercial vehicles the over the body chassis is utilized.
The global automotive chassis market can be segmented based on type, vehicle, and geography. In terms of type, the automotive chassis market can be classified into monocoque chassis and over the body chassis. The monocoque chassis, an aluminum body shell of welded structural parts, is widely utilized in light passenger cars. The monocoque chassis segment holds a major share of the market due to the increase in production of passenger vehicles.
The over the body chassis is employed in commercial vehicles, trucks, and buses where strength, rigidity, and load carrying capacity is essential. Based on vehicle type, the automotive chassis market can be segregated into passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles. The growth of trade amongst BRICS nations has led to the demand of commercial vehicles fleet, thus increasing the demand for chassis. In terms of geography, the automotive chassis market can be segmented into North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific and Europe are prominent markets for automotive chassis.
Key players manufacturing chassis include American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc. producing lightweight chassis for General Motors with aluminum sub-frame. Magna International Inc. uses hydroforming process to manufacture chassis in order to improve reliability and durability of the vehicle frame. ZF Friedrichshafen AG manufactures chassis for up to 6-ton vehicles for front and rear axle systems. Bharat Forge Limited and BENTELER International AG are also the global players of automotive chassis.