The automotive electric power steering (EPS) market was valued at USD 18.96 billion in 2020, and it is expected to register a CAGR of 6.26% during the forecast period (2021-2026).
During the outberak of pandemic COVID-19, the market was hit adversely becasue of the disrutions caused in the supply chain as several major economies of the world were forced into lockdown and economic activities were halted during this period. All the manufacturing units and OEM plants stopped their production to adhere the social distancing norms and restrict the spread of virus. The demand for passenger vehicles also fell drastically during this period. Yet with the gradual opening up of economies the demand returned to the market and markets like China and India witnessed huge demand for passenger cars as the consumer preferance changed from public transport to personal vehicles. The trend is expected to continue during the forecast period.
Electric power steering (EPS) system is an alternative to traditional steering systems, such as hydraulic and electro-hydraulic systems. The rising popularity of self-driving vehicles is fueling the demand growth in the electric power steering system market across the world. Vehicles that are equipped with electric power steering tend to have a reduced overall weight, which further increases fuel efficiency.
On the contrary, when compared to the conventional steering systems, the electric power steering systems are costly, and a rise in vehicle recalls, owing to malfunctioning of sensors or other components, may hinder the growth of the market.
Electric systems are highly fuel-efficient, due to the absence of belt-driven hydraulic or manual pumps, which run constantly, whether assistance is required or not. EPS provides fuel savings as high as 0.4 l for every 100 km, along with a reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 7 g/km.
Key Market Trends
Government Initiatives and Growing Emphasis on Safer Automotive Systems are Driving the Market
On an average, globally, about 1.24 million people die in road accidents each year, half of whom are vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and motorcyclists, while the other half die because of side-impact accidents. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 80% of cars sold in the world are not compliant with the main safety standards. Only 40 countries have adopted the full set of the seven most important regulations for car safety.
A significant increase in the number of accidents has also encouraged end users to adopt better safety systems. Improvements in roadway and motor vehicle designs have steadily reduced injury and death rates in all the first world countries. However, the accident rates are still higher in some developing countries, and governments are focusing on implementing stringent safety norms and supporting the adoption of various subsystems in the vehicles.
Driven by these factors, automobile manufacturers are incorporating several systems in vehicles that enhance safety. Advanced safety and security features are no longer restricted to premium vehicles. Consumers are now more concerned about safety systems and technologies, and therefore, they are more interested in opting for vehicles that are equipped with better safety systems.
– For instance, Infiniti Q50 incorporated direct adaptive steering in vehicles, which involves sensors in the car that constantly monitor the position of the steering wheel. In addition, torque sensors are integrated into the EPS system. The torque sensors measure the effort applied by the driver to steer the vehicle.
Moreover, the stringency in government regulations regarding fuel efficiency and safety initiatives are important drivers for the growth and development of the advanced steering systems that comprehensively employ steering sensors.
Asia-Pacific Dominated the Global Market
Asia-Pacific dominates the market, and it is expected to witness the same trend over the forecast period, with China dominating the market, followed by India and Japan.
China is the largest automobile market in the world. More than 25.3 million vehicles were sold in the country in 2020 and recorded an 1.2% decline in the sales compared to 2019. However, China is still the largest automotive market due to the sheer number of vehicles that are associated with the country.
The country is characterized by the presence of large number of local and global players. Global players generally enter the Chinese market through joint ventures with regional companies. For instance, Nexteer Automotive entered an agreement with Dongfeng Motor Parts and Components Group to create Dongfeng Nexteer Steering Systems (Wuhan) Co. Ltd. This new company will deal with the production of single pinion assist electric power steering (SPEPS) systems.
India is an emerging economy where EPS implementation in passenger cars is growing rapidly, owing to its advantages, such as no hoses or fluids required in the steering system, thereby, reducing the repair and maintenance costs. Currently, more than 30% of the passenger cars are running with EPS technology in India, and the technology is likely to be implemented in the majority of the budget passenger cars during the forecast period.
The automotive electric power steering market is consolidated, with approximately more than half of the market share held by few companies, such as JTEKT Corporation, ZF Friedrichshafen AG, NSK Ltd, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, and Nexteer Automotive.
The companies are focusing on diversifying their product line and customers, by launching new EPS systems with upgraded technology. For instance, JTEKT is expanding its EPS application area, and it developed EPS (intermediate assist-type EPS) for multipurpose vehicles used for agricultural, off-road, and other applications. To strengthen the global supply system further, the company has set up production sites for dual pinion-type EPS in four regions (Japan, China, North America, and Europe) and rack parallel-type EPS in three regions (Japan, China, and North America).
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