The Global Automotive Wheel Bearing Market is estimated to surpass $46.5 billion mark by 2026 growing at an estimated CAGR of more than 4.2% during the forecast period 2021 to 2026. The market research analysis identifies the development of public transport facilities and the push towards green mobility as some of the key growth factors for the global automotive wheel bearings market. However replacement of internal combustion engine cars with electric cars result in declining of wheel bearings market as electric cars require less bearings compared to combustion engine cars. The robust spending on developing public road systems and the popularity of electric vehicles will fuel the growth of the automotive wheel bearings market in the next four years.
Automotive Wheel Bearing Market Segment Analysis – By Technology
Ball Bearings has dominated the Automotive Wheel Bearing Market as compared to the other technologies. Ball bearings are rolling element metal balls that are placed between the moving parts of bearings to make them move smoothly. These are used to reduce rotational friction and support radial and axial loads. Also, used to minimize friction and power loss. Latest trend is Incorporation of sensor units in ball bearings. Sensor units assist in the digital monitoring of rotation speed, axial movement, deceleration, acceleration and load carrying capacity. Development and adoption of integrated bearings is on the rise as it is drastically reducing the number of bearing units required in the assembled product.
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Automotive Wheel Bearing Market Segment Analysis – By Vehicle Type
Passenger cars are the fastest-growing vehicles on the Automotive Wheel Bearing segment by vehicle type. In passenger cars there are two types of bearings that are used which include taper roller bearing and ball bearings. Further, these vary according to the application and load. With increasing transport volumes, higher performance, as well as modified driving behavior, the high requirements placed on a wheel bearing are rising
Bearings are mechanical devices employed to reduce friction between rotating equipment. In a traditional hatchback, an average of about 60 bearings are fitted and the number goes up in the case of sedans and SUVs. Bearings which add significant weight in any vehicle will play a major role to play in the reduction of weight. To reduce the overall weight companies are exploring to use lighter raw materials. With this there will be less consumption of fuel as the overall weight of the vehicle reduces.
Automotive Wheel Bearing Market Segment Analysis – By Geography
Asia-Pacific region accounted for the major share of automotive wheel bearings market. The rising demand for passenger cars and commercial vehicles in the region drives the market growth. China, being a hub for production processes for many industries along with growing demand for automotive and industrial related developments, persisting in the country led it to contribute extensively to the innovations in utilization and determination of physical properties of wheel bearings. In 2019, Xin Guobin, vice-minister of industry and information technology of China had informed that car sales contribute for the lion’s share of overall retail market of China and play a key role in the industrial economy. China remains the world’s largest automotive manufacturing country and automotive market since 2009. In 2018, annual vehicle production in China accounted for over 30 percent of worldwide vehicle production, which exceeds that of the European Union or that of the United States and Japan combined. However Covid has had a significant negative impact on this market.
Automotive Wheel Bearing Market Drivers
High demand for thrust bearings and demand for Automated Driving System (ADS)
There is increase in demand for thrust bearings in automotive sector. Increase in agricultural and mining activities with the use of high technological vehicles such as harvesters, trucks, tractors in farming increases the thrust bearings market. There is high adoption of bearings for automated driving systems as they are totally controlled by sensors drives the market growth. As these vehicles operate in low speed in the fields, they require ball thrust bearings as these bearings are mostly used for low speed non precision applications. These bearing cannot take much radial load and are usually found in low precision farm equipment. For very large thrust load, roller thrust bearings are mostly used. Roller thrust bearings are mainly used in gear support, car transmissions, where they are used to support helical gears. In particular, extremely stringent environmental regulations are posed upon the automotive industry, and requirement for low friction torque in bearings in automobiles has been rising as this greatly contributes to reduction of CO2 by improving efficiency of vehicles. In order to respond fuel economy and emission regulations and government initiatives, many company OEMs are concentrating on developing efficiency products. In Europe, Japan, downsizing of the gasoline engine has been started which will drive the market.
Rise in Automotive Production creating new markets
With the increase in automotive production such as cars, two-wheelers, specialized vehicles, there is increase in automotive wheel bearings. These bearings help vehicles by allowing wheels to spin with minimum friction while travelling over different types of roads, potholes. Nowadays, most of the vehicles are equipped with wheel bearings that require no maintenance and sealed in a hub assembly. Specialized vehicles such as off-highway trucks are majorly used in mining activities which operates in dust and contamination. In order to protect from those problems, many companies are focusing on developing high functionality of wheel bearings. NTN Bearing Corporation had developed filter seal integrated large sized bearing which helps in not allowing any objects in the lubricant to enter into bearings. This type of developments in automotive wheel bearings attract customers and thus drives the market growth. Technology developments such as integration of sensors in automotive wheel bearings in order to protect from harsh environments and also helps in understanding the quality and stability of the vehicle. The push towards green mobility and the robust spending on the development of public road transport systems boost the demand of the market.
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Automotive Wheel Bearing Market Challenges
Reduction in weight of wheel bearings
Usually automotive wheel bearings are made of high quality and high spec steel, alloy steel and other hard metals. Use of heavy metals makes more weight in the production of wheel bearings. In coming years, trend in adoption and manufacture of light weight vehicles makes reduction in weight of wheel bearings. This makes OEMs as a big challenge in size and weight reduction of bearing with high efficiency. In order to reduce the weight of the vehicles for lower CO2 emissions and greater fuel efficiency, OEM Companies are using latest technologies in a bid to remain in competitive market. This can be met by using light weight materials for the production of bearings. Shift towards electric vehicles from internal combustion engine also hampers the growth of the market as there would be lesser requirement of the wheel bearings as the engine get replaced with electric motor. The company SKF had already started manufacturing bearings that are 10-12 percent lighter than the earlier bearings, depending upon the application.
Product launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the Automotive Wheel Bearing Market. NTN, Schaeffler, NSK, Koyo Bearings, SKF, JTEKT, American Axle and Manufacturing, Timken, CW Bearings, NKE Bearings and others are considered to be the key players of the Automotive Wheel Bearing Market.
In 2017, CW Bearings USA, Inc. acquired Drake Manufacturing Services .Co. LLC. The acquisition allowed the group to enter the Machine Tools market.
In 2018, Timken India Ltd, a subsidiary of The Timken Company, acquired ABC Bearings Ltd. a manufacturer of tapered, cylindrical and spherical roller bearings and slewing rings, based in India.
Chrome steel is used in producing bearings of light weight than traditional ones and provide greater hardness, fatigue life and wear resistance. Tungsten carbide increases durability, wear and corrosion resistant and suitable for high impact, low stress, and high temperature conditions.
Growth of Electric Vehicles will hinder the market the demand for automotive wheel bearings as compared to ICEs these vehicles have lower number of automotive wheel bearings.
There has been an increase in technology development such as incorporating automotive wheel bearings with various sensors that monitor the performance and quality of the bearings. This trend has become one of the most significant factors playing a key role in boosting the growth of the market.
Recent Government regulations have prohibited overloading of vehicles. The new generation of trucks has undergone vast changes with new design wheels and axles. Improved vehicle systems and road infrastructure are slowly making bearings a non-replacement part. Bearings are being designed to last for a lifetime. So, the aftermarket business over the year is expected to shrink in years to come.
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