Automakers are looking beyond in-house production, design and development of advanced chassis systems to be in line with customer demands for improved vehicle safety, without losing focus on issues regarding suppliers, competitors and regulations. Chassis system development is a complex and precise process, as it involves key elements such as suspension, braking, and steering systems.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (automotive.frost.com), 2007 Database of Chassis System Offerings on Light Vehicles in the United States covers over 250 models and their trims sold in the United States in model year 2007 to provide a comprehensive view of chassis systems reaching production.
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"While the suspension system is responsible for distribution of weight at each corner to maintain the vehicle’s balance and stability, the braking system ensures vehicle and passenger safety," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Abhishek Naskar. "The steering system controls the vehicle’s maneuverability in terms of direction and navigation, thereby significantly minimizing road crashes and maximizing vehicle performance."
Chassis systems are also used to better design style, reduce noise levels and energy loss, and enhance load-bearing capacity. Automakers often differentiate their products through these elements, thereby encouraging chassis companies to develop powerful and economic safety systems to stay competitive.
This trend, coupled with the passing of a regulation mandating electronic stability systems by 2011, expects to drive greater sophistication in chassis systems. Manufacturers can use the intervening period to understand various design aspects in order to reduce production costs.
With the passing of strict legislation regarding vehicle and driver safety, the automobile industry is beginning to adopt electrical systems along with mechanical ones to minimize human intervention. Although both manufacturers and consumers have welcomed these regulations, these improved systems do not come cheap.
Manufacturers will have to spend heavily on obtaining patents and conducting research, apart from upgrading their manufacturing processes. The changes to design, development and implementation, as well as the complexity of system integration, will also warrant huge investments; this will ultimately tell on the cost of the final product.
Despite the concerns of high price tags, and ultimately, consumer acceptance, automakers are determined to make their vehicles technologically competent. They realize that they will have to devise a way to offer world-class products at affordable rates without wasting resources.
"By outsourcing their chassis manufacturing requirements to a strategically allied supplier and designer, manufacturers can reduce their R&D costs and manufacturing time," notes Naskar. "The production costs will also decrease over time as manufacturers start marketing products in bulk."
2007 Database of Chassis System Offerings on Light Vehicles in the United States is part of the Automotive & Transportation Growth Partnership Service, which includes research service in the following markets: front-end modules, standard software platforms, and automotive vision systems. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. Interviews with the press are available.
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