The automotive drivetrain is a system that act as medium to connect the transmission to the drive axles. The drivetrain includes transmission, driveshaft, axles, and wheels. Engine is not a part of drivetrain although the function of the drivetrain is to combined the engine and driving wheels so as to provide power to vehicle. The global automotive drivetrain market is segmented in three parts based on the drive type: Front Wheel Drive (FWD), Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) and All-Wheel Drive (AWD).
In FWD, the engine drives only the front wheels of a car. Most of the small and mid-size car makers offer front wheel drive as it is low-priced and easy to design and meet majority of customer requirement. The cars with FWD are generally light-weight as it does not involve a transmission and axle shaft, which increase the weight of the vehicle. The vehicles equipped with FWD has better fuel efficiency compared to RWD and AWD. One of the disadvantages of FWD vehicle is that it has low weight bearing capacity and poor towing capacity.
A RWD vehicle has engine in front and is connected to a transmission. The power passes through a driveshaft to the rear-axle gears followed by rear wheels. RWD equipped vehicles have better weight balance along with better acceleration and better road holding capacity. RWD offers better acceleration and is widely used in racing cars and heavy trucks.
The AWD has a front, rear and center differential that equally distribute power to all four wheels of a vehicle. The powertrain is capable of providing power to all its wheels, depending on the requirement of the driver. The AWD vehicles are generally heavy and improve an extra transmission and axle, which leads to decrease in the fuel efficiency and increase in maintenance cost. AWD systems plays an important role in extreme weather conditions. It is commonly used for sports utility vehicles (SUVs), and minivans. Most of the SUV manufacturer provide both the options of FWD and AWD depending on the customer preference. Most of the luxury vehicles are coming with AWD options for better acceleration and high resale value.
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The global automotive drivetrain market reported a consolidated structure in 2016, where the top three competitors accounted for the major share. Some of the key players in the global automotive drivetrain market include Aisin Seki Co., Ltd. Borgwarner Inc., GKN PLC, ZF Friedrichshafen AG, Showa Corporation, Schaeffler Group and American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc.
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