Global players operating in the automotive intermediate shaft market include Henglong, Nexteer, NSK, ThyssenKrupp, JTEKT, Mando, Continental AG, Robert Bosch, and Namyang.
The automotive intermediate shaft attaches the steering wheel to the steering rack, or steering gearbox. The intermediate shaft, also called I-shaft, at each end has a universal joint, which permits for the angle between the steering gear and steering shaft.
Increase in the production of vehicles directly boosts the market for automotive intermediate shafts. The intermediate shaft plays an important role in the smooth working of the steering system. Automotive intermediate shaft needs regular replacement, as it makes a cracking noise after extensive wear. This factor is restraining the market for automotive intermediate shaft.
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The global automotive intermediate shaft market can be segmented based on type, material, vehicle type, sales channel, and region.
Based on type, the automotive intermediate shaft market can be classified into Double D, splined, smooth, and others. Double D, also termed as DD, is known for the flexibility it offers. Splined intermediate shafts are recognized by the teeth or ridges on drive shaft, which mesh with grooves in a mating piece and transfer torque.
According to material, the automotive intermediate shaft market can be divided into steel shaft, aluminum shaft, and others. Weight, harmonics, strength, and cost are key aspects considered during the design and manufacture of the automotive components. The key factors mentioned above need to be considered while designing and manufacturing an intermediate shaft, as it is has to bear the load and transfer torque generated by rotation of the steering wheel. Mild steel having the same specifications as aluminum is much stronger; however, considering overall features of the steel and aluminum, aluminum is a stronger material than steel, which can be used for manufacturing of intermediate shafts. Cost of the aluminum is moderately higher than steel; however, the properties of aluminum offset the cost of the material. Research and development on auto components ensure new type of materials are likely to be utilized to design and manufacture intermediate shafts. High strength plastics are replacing conventionally employed steel and aluminum owing to its light weight properties.
In terms of vehicle type, the automotive intermediate shaft market can be split into passenger vehicle and commercial vehicle. The passenger vehicle segment can be further sub-segmented into hatchback, sedan, and SUV/MPV. The commercial vehicle segment can be further split into light commercial vehicle and heavy commercial vehicle.
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Based on sales channel, the automotive intermediate shaft market can be bifurcated into OEM and aftermarket. Consistent load and variable load on the intermediate shaft leads to failure. This, in turn, is anticipated to boost the aftermarket segment, in terms of revenue, during the forecast period.
Asia Pacific witnesses a significantly high production of the vehicles, as various vehicle manufacturers have presence in countries such as China, Japan, and India. Moreover, the automotive intermediate shaft market directly depends on the production of vehicles. Hence, Asia Pacific is likely to lead the global automotive intermediate shaft market. Production of intermediate shafts is higher in Asia Pacific, followed by Europe, North America, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa.