Automotive Industry just like any other industry has taken a back seat in terms of revenue generated by the industry. US, India and major Latin American countries which are among major automobile markets are the new COVID hotspots and thus the sector has certainly been affected dearly.
In India, April 2020 was the worst month for the sector which witnessed ‘Zero’ revenue. But the market in China is slowly stabilizing, reopening of manufacturing plants and restart of domestic supply has slowly helped the sector to get back to normal at least at the domestic level.
The global auto sales are expected to take a hit of at least 20-22% compared to that of 2019. Markets like India, South East Asia and Latin America are expected to be worst affected market with more than 30% slump in sales. It is estimated that in major markets and to some extent globally the market has been pushed back by 5 years and thus the auto sales require at least another 4-5 years to get back to its pre COVID sales figures.
Automotive HVAC market directly influenced by the automobile sales has been the worst affected segment. Since the HVAC market rely significantly on OEM fitment rather than the aftermarket sales, HVAC market will find it difficult to get back to its pre COVID figures.
Although the manufacturing and processing plants have begun to function partly in many countries, the demand for supply of raw materials and components is yet to be restoed completely.
Despite all headwinds, we have analyzed the top 7 trends in the automotive HVAC market which must be factored in by all automotive HVAC suppliers
- Scroll Compressors fast replacing mechanical compressors
As xEV sales grow worldwide, HVAC compressors will be directly impacted. Overall electric HVAC compressor penetration in the world in 2019 was less than 10%, with Europe leading the electric compressor fitment with 9.2% penetration. China coming second with 7% penetration.
In China, as Plug in EVs will get back to double digit growth trajectory in 2021 after a minor decline in 2019 and a steep decline in 2020, going all the way to 2025, scroll compressor fitment is estimated to be the highest in the coming years and at least 20% of cars in 2025 will be fitted with scroll compressors in the country.
- HVAC control panel now integrated with touchscreen
Owing to electrification of cars and rise in autonomous mobility, touchscreen HVAC control in passenger vehicles has become the second most valued component in vehicle HVAC system.
HMI (Human Machine Interface) is expected to account for 16% of the HVAC system Dollar content in a passenger vehicle after touchscreen technology is being replaced the knobs and dials.
- Growth in Multizone Climate Control Penetration
US was the leader in multi-zone climate control with penetration of more than 60%, of which ~90% was dual zone climate control. Europe had the 2nd highest penetration with 50% in 2019.
OEM wise Luxury automakers BMW and Mercedes has higher penetration of multi zone climate control with ~85-90%.
Tri and Four Zone Climate Control is limited to premium segment vehicles and are found in the top 10 selling luxury vehicles in USA and Europe region.
- Differentiated Vent Designs
Cockpit AC vent design is US vertical and dynamic ones employed by the pick-ups which dominate the US market.
Nissan vehicles are commonly found with air turbine AC vent design. Unique HVAC vents with high aspect ratio, vents running along the dashboard was patented by Tesla in 2018 and is found in the Model 3. In Japan, the vertical cockpit AC vents are more popular.
- Integration with connected car tech- Pre-conditioning of cabin
Preconditioning of cabin is a popular feature EVs and there are EVs which conduct preconditioning in spite of car not plugged in. Preconditioning of Battery and cabin is crucial for EVs as they have shorter range and longer refueling at times and it is important to save energy.
Preconditioning is now found in almost every newly launched EVs as well as B and C segment cars with connected car tech. Hyundai`s Venue which is now a global platform is the latest addition
- Air purifier and PM 2.5 Filter
Charcoal cabin air filters filter out large and small particles and have coal as a special ingredient to get rid of terrible odors. Activated carbon filters typically work the same way as charcoal filters but have activated carbon as the special ingredient.
Activated carbon absorbs harmful gases like carbon monoxide and other airborne contaminants that pass through the ventilation system.
Particle cabin filters trap tiny particles that are as small as 0.3 microns before they enter your car. They are the best filters for filtering out pollen, dust, smoke, mould spores, bugs, strands of human hair, and other tiny debris.
Post COVID, we expect further innovations in automotive air purifiers.
In China 23 out of top 30 selling cars in 2019 are equipped with PM (Particulate Matter) 2.5 filter and Pollen filters. The Micro active Carbon Filters are most commonly found in luxury segment cars in Europe and US region. In Europe, Volkswagen cars are equipped with the allergy filter.
- Growth in Rear AC Vents
The Rear AC penetration was highest in US with more than 65% and followed by China with ~58-62% in 2019.
The rise in sales of SUVs has propelled the Rear AC penetration and the trend expected to be continued. Among top 3 selling OEMs of 2019, Volkswagen had around 64% Rear AC penetration, Toyota and GM had 50% and 48% respectively.
Luxury car makers BMW, Mercedes and Audi had more than 90% penetration of Rear AC. Whereas, Renault which sold almost 4 million cars in 2019 had the lowest rear AC penetration with less than 10%.
Ashutosh M, Research Associate at Mobility Foresights