Airbags are driver safety devices deployed in vehicles to provide cushioning and protection to passengers in the event of crashes/accidents. The bag is made of thin nylon fabric, and is folded into the dashboard, steering wheel, seat, roof or door. The crash sensor sends a message to inflate the bag in case of collision, while the inflation system helps in immediate inflation of air bag inside the passenger cabin.
The global market for airbags is expected to grow by a double-digit CAGR in the next six years. North America is leads the market followed by Europe and Asia Pacific. Due to advancements in technology, U.S is one of the largest markets for air bags. European countries are on the verge of economic recovery and are expected to show decent market growth in coming years.
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Key drivers for the global airbag industry are government regulations, increasing concern for passenger safety, development of roll over and side impact systems, increased sophistication of safety systems, and increasing adoption of safety systems across all the segments of passenger vehicles.
The Asia Pacific region is expected to witness high growth in the near future due to increasing domestic demand for automobiles. Growing concerns over safety and increasing incorporation of safety systems, particularly airbags, in the compact car segment are driving growth in the market.
Additionally, some of the key programs that rate vehicles based on their safety performance, such as the new car assessment program (NCAP) are also fuelling the growth of the airbag market in Asia Pacific. Affordability and technological advancement are other factors boosting the sales of airbags in Asia Pacific.
Airbags comprise of three crucial elements, i.e. bags, crash sensors and inflation systems. On the basis of location of airbags within the vehicle, the airbags market is segmented into frontal airbag, side airbag, centre airbag, knee airbag, and rear curtain airbag. The largest market share is occupied by the centre airbag followed by the side airbag.
Technology development, increasing consumer acceptance and lower prices are pushing airbag utilisation to almost 100% in Japan. China is the largest producer of airbags in mass quantities owing to high automotive production. Regional players often license technology or partner with large airbag suppliers in order to enhance their presence in the market. The major trends identified in the market include use of new fabric technology and decrease in cushion weight.
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Automotive airbag companies such as Denso Corporation, Takata Corporation, and Toyoda Gosei Co. Ltd. are the major players in the Asia Pacific region. Other big players in the Asia Pacific airbag market include Autoliv, Inc., Robert Bosch GmbH, Delphi Automotive PLC, Continental AG, Hyundai Mobis Co. Ltd, and Key Safety Systems, Inc. This market is highly competitive in nature and competition between the airbag module manufacturing firms is increasing. The companies are also trying to gain an advantage in terms of cost through product development that is focused on reducing the cost by reducing material content, facilitating the ease of manufacture, and logistics management.
The interesting fact is that the use of air bag technology in two-wheelers can prove to be a challenge and yet, growth opportunity for market leaders. In a cost-sensitive market like APAC, automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEM) are expected to come up with economical airbags to capture the untapped market in APAC
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