Automotive steering system is one of the most important components in vehicles as it is the direct line of communication and control between the driver and the vehicle. Steering system is used to control the direction of motion of a vehicle. A steering system comprises various functional parts such as steering wheel, steering box, linkage equipment connecting the steering box and front wheels and other front suspension parts to enable the assemblies to pivot. In recent years, automotive steering systems have evolved, replacing the strenuous and rigid conventional manual steering systems with more sophisticated, reliable and easy to use assisted steering systems. These advanced steering systems utilize assistance systems using sensors to provide improved directional control and agility to a vehicle. Automotive steering systems are equipped with several safety measures such as Electronic Stability Program (ESP) that prevent the vehicle from skidding by automatic braking. Automotive steering wheels are equipped with controls such as turn indicators, horn, music player control, Bluetooth, wipers, lights and other controls. Moreover, due to increasing fuel prices, there has been increasing development in steering systems to provide better fuel efficiency.
Automotive steering systems can be segmented based on type of vehicles, steering system types and geographic regions. Automotive steering systems can be categorized based on type of vehicles such as passenger cars, Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) and Heavy Commercial Vehicles (HCV). Further, automotive steering systems can be classified based on the type of technology such as manual steering, electronic power steering, hydraulic power steering and electro-hydraulic power steering systems. Manual steering systems include steering of wheels using manual force whereas electronic power steering systems operate on electric motor and eliminate the use of manual force for steering control. Hydraulic steering systems function on hydraulic pressure coming from a rotary vane pump or gerotor operating on the engine. The more torque/force the driver applies to steering wheel, the more fluid flows through the hydraulic cylinder causing corresponding displacement of the wheels. Similar to hydraulic power steering systems, the electro-hydraulic power steering systems also operate on hydraulic pressure. However, the pump that generates hydraulic pressure for steering control is driven by an electric motor which facilitates easy steering of wheels.
Geographically, the automotive steering systems market is dominated by Asia Pacific region due to high consumption of automobiles in the region. Moreover, increasing production of automobiles in countries such as China, Japan, South Korea and India is another factor contributing to the demand for automotive steering systems in these regions. Furthermore, growing adoption of advanced steering systems coupled with safety features such as anti-lock braking system (ABS) and electronic stability program (ESP) is expected boost the demand for automotive steering systems. Additionally, low cost of production, easy raw material availability and reduced transportation cost are factors boosting the automotive steering systems market. North America and Europe follow Asia Pacific in terms of demand for automotive steering systems. Due to better fuel efficiency and fuel economy regulations, these regions pose high demand for advanced steering systems such as electronic power steering systems. Furthermore, automotive steering systems market is expected to boom with increasing R&D and manufacturing of advanced steering systems by companies such as Volkswagen Group in Europe.
Some of the key players in automotive steering systems are JTEKT Corporation, TRW Automotive Holdings, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, NSK Ltd., ZF Lenksysteme GmBH, Nexteer Automotive, Thyssenkrupp Presta AG Aktiengesellschaft, China Automotive Systems Inc., Mando Corporation and others.
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