Axle and Corner Modularity in Their Prime
Suspension design has evolved recently with the development of systems that defied common logic. The assumption that sophisticated designs are left only for top-end vehicles is fading as more and more vehicles adopt performance-friendly layouts. For example, the introduction of rear multi-link suspensions in B- and C-segment vehicles, or air suspension as the eminent technology in luxury vehicles, has completely changed forecasts and has propelled many projects back to the drawing board. To get a compromise between price and performance for suspension systems, most vehicle manufacturers have chosen modularity as the most feasible option to allow them to compete in future. Also the major obstacle affecting axle and corner modules in the past is almost extinct more and more plants are capable of modular assembly. In line with that, more and more suppliers are capable of providing modular design and manufacturing.
The current market stands at 18 million axle modules and 62 million corner modules for the combined North American and European markets (number of units installed). CSM Worldwide forecasts that number to grow to 131 million and 41 million units respectively by 2008.