Air suspension is a type of suspension system that uses air
springs to provide a smoother and more comfortable ride. It is commonly used in
commercial trucks and buses, as well as luxury cars and SUVs. Air suspension
systems have become increasingly popular over the years due to their ability to
provide superior ride quality, handling, and performance compared to traditional
One of the main advantages of air suspension is its ability
to adjust the ride height of the vehicle. This allows the driver to customize
the ride height to suit their specific needs and preferences, such as lowering
the vehicle for improved aerodynamics or raising it for better ground
clearance. Air suspension systems can also be used to adjust the stiffness of
the suspension, allowing the driver to fine-tune the handling characteristics
of the vehicle.
Another advantage of air suspension is its ability to
provide a smoother and more comfortable ride compared to traditional suspension
systems. Air springs are able to absorb road shocks and vibrations more
effectively, resulting in a more comfortable ride for passengers. This makes
air suspension an ideal choice for commercial trucks and buses, which often
travel long distances and require a high level of comfort for passengers.
In addition to its performance and comfort benefits, air
suspension also offers improved durability and reliability. Air springs are
less prone to wear and tear compared to traditional suspension components, such
as springs and shock absorbers. This means that air suspension systems can last
longer and require less maintenance over time, resulting in cost savings for
Air suspension systems also have applications in the field
of motorsports, where they are used to improve the handling and performance of
high-performance cars. Air suspension allows drivers to adjust the ride height
and stiffness of their vehicle on-the-fly, giving them a competitive edge on
Air Suspension Market Dynamics
Drivers in Air
The air suspension market has seen an increase in demand due
to rising sales in the global commercial vehicle sector. Air suspension has
become a standard feature in heavy trucks, semi-trailers, and multi-axle buses
in European and North American countries. Additionally, manufacturers in China,
South Korea, and India have started to offer air suspension in their heavy
commercial vehicles as well. Major suppliers such as Z.F. Friedrichshafen AG,
Continental AG, and Hendrickson are employing various strategies to meet the
rising demand and strengthen their presence in the market.
Fleet owners in some countries are installing air suspension
in their vehicles to enjoy additional benefits. In India, for instance,
installing air suspension in one axle increases the carrying capacity of a
vehicle by 1 to 2 tons. Such benefits and upcoming regulations on cabin comfort
for heavy trucks are expected to drive OEMs to offer air suspension in the
semi-trailers segment. Moreover, a good quality ride provides comfort to
passengers, minimizes cargo damage, and reduces driver fatigue on long
journeys. Suspension systems play a crucial role in the quality of the ride and
control of car handling. The need for higher driving comfort, particularly in
ambulances to avoid further injury to the already ill passengers, has further
increased the demand for air suspension. As a result, the air suspension market
is expected to continue to grow in the coming years.
Restraints in Air
The increasing use of advanced technologies has led to
significant improvements in automotive suspension systems, particularly with
the adoption of electronically controlled air suspension systems, which offer
greater comfort and convenience. However, the growing complexity of these
systems has also led to significant cost increases for system design,
prototyping, and production, which can pose a major challenge for many
manufacturers. The incorporation of air suspension in existing vehicle models
requires major design modifications and increases the cost of the system, as it
involves adding a significant number of sensors, solenoid valves, and
electronic control units. This makes it difficult for OEMs to offer air
suspension systems in mid-segment cars, especially in developing countries
where consumers are unwilling to pay for expensive technology. While advanced
technologies and high demand for premium vehicles drive the market in developed
regions such as Europe and North America, the high cost of air suspension
systems remains a major challenge in cost-sensitive regions such as Asia
Oceania and Rest of the World, where the majority of the market is made up of
economy segment cars. The high development and adoption cost of air suspension
systems may adversely affect the growth of the air suspension market. Moreover,
the complex structure of these systems often requires skilled workers for their
maintenance, which can further increase the cost of vehicle ownership and
reduce their shelf life.
Opportunities in Air
The automotive industry has been facing significant
challenges to reduce CO2 emissions and improve fuel efficiency, which has led
to an increasing trend of lightweight vehicles. One major component
contributing to the weight of light-duty vehicles is the chassis and suspension
system, which includes the suspension, steering, brakes, tires, and wheels.
Conventional suspension systems are typically heavy, which increases the
overall weight of the vehicle and negatively impacts fuel consumption. However,
manufacturers in the air suspension industry have identified opportunities to
reduce the weight of these systems while maintaining their performance.
To achieve this, suspension manufacturers are constantly
working to find the optimal material composition to reduce the weight of
chassis and components. For instance, Kenworth Truck Company in the United
States was able to reduce the weight of its suspension system by 400 pounds by
using an air ride suspension system. Meanwhile, SAF Holland S.E. has introduced
a lightweight CBX23 AeroBeam fixed frame air suspension that offers an ideal
balance of strength and weight, resulting in enhanced performance in heavy trucks.
Moreover, air springs made up of textile reinforced rubber can further decrease
the weight of the suspension systems.
Due to these advancements, other players in the air
suspension industry are expected to develop lightweight air suspension systems
and related components to tap into new business opportunities in the coming
years. Furthermore, the growth of the market is also driven by factors such as
the rise in global commercial vehicle sales and the increase in demand for
premium and luxury vehicles. However, the high development and adoption cost of
air suspension systems may pose a challenge for the market's growth.
Nonetheless, the increasing demand for lightweight air suspension systems and
rising aftermarket demand for air suspension and related components are
expected to create numerous opportunities for the growth and expansion of the
air suspension market.
Challenges in Air
Challenges in the air suspension market arise from the
presence of local suppliers who offer customized air suspension components in
the aftermarket for passenger cars, heavy trucks, and buses. While established
players such as Z.F. Friedrichshafen AG, Continental AG, Thyssenkrupp AG,
Hendrickson, and Firestone Industrial Products LLC offer a wide range of air
suspensions and other components in the O.E. market, consumers prefer to
install air suspension in the aftermarket. The increasing passenger vehicle and
heavy vehicle parc offers more market opportunities for air suspension. The
rising adoption of air suspension will propel the replacement and retrofit
demand, resulting in intense competition for established companies and may
adversely affect the growth of the market.
On the other hand, countries have implemented laws and
regulations that make it mandatory for vehicles to install advanced systems for
comfort while driving, such as air suspension system, within a stipulated time
period. Governments across the globe have made mandatory rules and regulations
to replace metal-based spring systems in vehicles with air suspension systems
keeping safety and security in mind. This has enabled vehicle manufacturers to
install air suspension systems in vehicles, eventually leading to the growth of
the air suspension market.
Furthermore, automobile manufacturers need to obtain safety
ratings from organizations such as the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety
(IIHS), New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), and International Centre for
Automotive Technology (ICAT) to access sales licenses of vehicles in the air
suspension market. Therefore, all these safety rules and regulations made by
governments are expected to contribute to the growth of the market in the
coming years, particularly in the premium and luxury vehicle segments.
The electronically controlled air suspension systems are
expected to grow at a rapid pace, with North America leading the market due to
the high adoption rate of technologically advanced systems. Several popular
passenger vehicle models such as Audi A8, Mercedes S-Class, Porsche Cayenne,
Land Rover Discovery, and Volkswagen Touareg come with electronically
controlled systems as a standard fitment in selected trims. In Europe, trucks
and buses have adoption rates of nearly 40-50% and 55-60%, respectively, as of
2022. Major players such as Volvo, Daimler AG, Scania, and MAN offer
electronically controlled systems for trucks and buses in the European market.
Among different vehicle types, the trucks segment is
expected to hold the largest share of the air suspension market. This is
because of the increasing demand for improved ride quality in special purpose
applications such as refrigerated trucks and fragile goods transport worldwide.
Asia, including countries like China and India, has seen huge economic
activities, which have driven demand for commercial vehicles, including trucks,
in the region. Improved environmental regulations and the demand for improved
ride quality prompted OEMs to introduce the air suspension system in their
models for the region. Hence, Asia Pacific is expected to hold the largest
market share of the air suspension market for the Trucks segment. In addition,
countries in the Rest of the World, such as Brazil and South Africa, are also
expected to drive demand for air suspension systems due to increased economic
The Asia Pacific region is expected to dominate the global
air suspension market due to several factors. The region already holds a
significant share of the global market in the Trucks and Buses segment, with
over 55% market share. As the effects of the pandemic continue to fade from the
automotive sector, commercial vehicle production has picked up pace and is expected
to grow at a rate of approximately 3.5% over the next 5 years. Additionally,
the region has seen an increase in the sales of luxury vehicles and premium
SUVs, which can be attributed to the increased spending power of people in the
In the premium vehicle segment, customers demand a
high-quality ride experience from their vehicles, leading OEMs to increase the
adoption of air suspension systems in their products. The demand for air
suspension systems is restricted to the premium segment in the passenger car
segment and in trucks and buses in the commercial vehicle segment.
China, India, Japan, and South Korea hold the majority of
the share in the region for vehicle ownership, thus influencing the market.
China is expected to remain the largest market within the region, owing to its
large population and increased demand for passenger vehicles post-pandemic. The
country has already resumed production levels close to pre-pandemic levels. By
value, India is expected to be the fastest-growing market due to increased
demand for passenger vehicles as the country's economy recovers from the
pandemic's effects. India also has a wide public transport system concentrated
in populous cities, where passengers demand comfortable ride experiences,
driving the air suspension market in India.
Passenger car customers in Japan and South Korea have also
started to demand better ride quality in their cars, leading to increased
adoption rates of air suspensions in these countries. These factors are
expected to make the Asia Pacific region a dominating market globally for air
The demand for advanced and upgraded components in the
automotive industry has increased globally, resulting in the need for
lightweight vehicles. To meet this requirement, automobile manufacturers are
favoring lightweight suspension systems over metal spring-based ones. This
trend has led to the usage of lightweight components for the production of air
suspension systems. As a result, the increasing demand for lightweight air suspension
systems has positively impacted the growth of the market during the forecast
In recent years, the air suspension market has witnessed
significant developments driven by increasing demand for lightweight and
advanced air suspension systems. Manufacturers are investing heavily in
research and development to come up with innovative products and solutions that
cater to the changing market demands.
One of the major developments in the air suspension market
is the adoption of digital technologies. Manufacturers are integrating digital
systems with air suspension systems to provide enhanced control and
performance. For instance, WABCO Holdings, a leading manufacturer of air
suspension systems, has launched a digital air control system that allows drivers
to adjust the ride height of their vehicles using an app on their smartphones.
This system provides real-time monitoring of vehicle height and stability, and
alerts drivers in case of any anomalies.
Another notable development in the air suspension market is
the increasing use of lightweight materials. Manufacturers are exploring
various material compositions to reduce the weight of air suspension systems
without compromising on performance. SAF Holland, for instance, has introduced
a lightweight CBX23 AeroBeam fixed frame air suspension that provides an
optimal balance of strength and weight for enhanced performance in heavy
trucks. Kenworth Truck Company has managed to reduce the weight of the
suspension system by 400 pounds by using an air ride suspension system.
Furthermore, there is a growing trend towards the adoption
of air suspension systems in mid-sized and smaller vehicles. This is driven by
increasing demand for comfort and improved ride quality among consumers.
Companies are investing in research and development to develop air suspension
systems that are compatible with smaller vehicles.
In terms of geographical developments, the Asia Pacific
region is expected to dominate the air suspension market in the coming years.
The region holds a significant share of the global market in the trucks and
buses segment, with China, India, Japan, and South Korea holding the majority
of the share. As the pandemic effect withers off from the automotive sector in
this region, the commercial vehicle production has picked up pace and is
estimated to grow at a rate of ~3.5% in the next 5 years. Sales of luxury
vehicles and premium SUVs have also increased in this region, prompting OEMs to
increase the adoption of air suspension systems in their products.
Dominating Companies in Air Suspension Market
- ZF FRIEDRICHSHAFEN AG
- CONTINENTAL AG
- THYSSENKRUPP AG
- MERITOR, INC.
- SAF HOLLAND SE
- FIRESTONE INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS COMPANY, LLC
- VIBRACOUSTIC SE
- MANDO CORPORATION
- BWI GROUP
- ARNOTT INC.
- AIR LIFT COMPANY
- INFINITY ENGINEERED PRODUCTS
- UNIVERSAL AIR SUSPENSION
- SHANGHAI KOMMAN
- JAMNA AUTO
Recent Developments in Air Suspension Market
Hendrickson acquires Grupo Randon's air suspension business
(March 2022): Hendrickson, a leading manufacturer of suspension systems and
components for commercial vehicles, announced its acquisition of Grupo Randon's
air suspension business in March 2022. The acquisition expands Hendrickson's
global footprint and strengthens its product offerings in the South American
Continental acquires air suspension specialist, Vibratech
(December 2020): Continental, a leading German automotive manufacturing
company, announced its acquisition of Vibratech in December 2020. Vibratech
specializes in air suspension systems for commercial vehicles and buses.
Continental's acquisition of Vibratech strengthens its position in the commercial
vehicle and bus markets.
WABCO and Hendrickson form partnership to develop air disc
brakes and advanced suspension systems (May 2020): WABCO, a leading supplier of
braking control systems and other advanced technologies for commercial
vehicles, announced a partnership with Hendrickson in May 2020. The partnership
focuses on developing air disc brakes and advanced suspension systems for the
commercial vehicle market.
SAF-Holland acquires axle and suspension system supplier,
York Transport Equipment (July 2019): SAF-Holland, a leading supplier of
trailer suspension and axle systems, announced its acquisition of York
Transport Equipment in July 2019. York Transport Equipment specializes in air
suspension systems for trailers and other heavy-duty vehicles. The acquisition
expands SAF-Holland's product offerings and strengthens its position in the
North American market.
Hendrickson acquires Swedish air suspension manufacturer -
In November 2021, Hendrickson, a global manufacturer and supplier of medium-
and heavy-duty mechanical, elastomeric, and air suspensions, announced the
acquisition of the Swedish air suspension manufacturer, Vibroacoustics
Scandinavia AB (VAS). The acquisition will enable Hendrickson to expand its
portfolio of air suspension products and offer a wider range of solutions to
WABCO partners with FAW Jiefang - In March 2020, WABCO, a
leading global supplier of braking control systems and other safety
technologies for commercial vehicles, announced a strategic partnership with
FAW Jiefang, a leading Chinese truck manufacturer. As part of the partnership,
WABCO will supply its advanced air suspension technology to FAW Jiefang for its
Continental acquires full ownership of air suspension
systems joint venture - In January 2020, Continental, a leading automotive
supplier, announced that it had acquired full ownership of its air suspension
systems joint venture with Qingdao Vland Auto Parts Co., Ltd. The joint
venture, called Continental Air Spring Systems (CAIS), had been established in
2013 to develop and produce air suspension systems for the Chinese market.
Hendrickson acquires air suspension systems manufacturer -
In May 2019, Hendrickson announced the acquisition of the air suspension
systems manufacturer, R.I.D.E. Control Systems. The acquisition added
R.I.D.E.'s proprietary technology and innovative products to Hendrickson's
portfolio of air suspension solutions.
Firestone Industrial Products expands product line with
acquisition - In January 2019, Firestone Industrial Products, a leading
manufacturer of air springs and related products for commercial vehicles,
announced the acquisition of the air suspension business of Airmaster Australia
Pty Ltd. The acquisition expanded Firestone's product line and distribution
network in the Asia-Pacific region.
In conclusion, air suspension is a highly versatile and
effective suspension system that offers a range of benefits, including improved
ride quality, handling, performance, and durability. As more and more vehicles
adopt air suspension technology, we can expect to see even greater advances in
this field in the years to come.