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The global clutch friction plate market size was valued at USD 11.69 billion in 2022. The market is projected to grow from USD 12.59 billion in 2023 to USD 24.63 billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 10.06% during the forecast period.
A clutch friction plate, also known as a clutch disc, is a vital component in the transmission system of a vehicle. It serves as the intermediary between the engine and the transmission, enabling the smooth engagement and disengagement of power as the driver shifts gears. When the clutch is engaged, the friction plates sit between the engine's flywheel and a steel pressure plate bolted to the flywheel. If the pressure between the flywheel and steel pressure plate is insufficient, it will allow the friction plate to slip, further leading to inefficient vehicle performance.
The friction material is the most important part of the clutch disc. It consists of materials with high frictional properties, such as organic materials, semi-metallic compounds, and ceramics. A friction material attached to both sides of the plate facilitates power transfer between the engine's flywheel and the transmission's input shaft. High-performance vehicles with higher engine torque require friction materials that can withstand higher levels of heat and wear.
Moreover, the durability of the friction material is an important factor. Manufacturers carefully select materials that can withstand repeated wear and tear without excessive wear or deterioration. The growing investment by major players in the research and development of friction material is expected to drive the growth of the market during the forecast period.
Severe Impact on Auto Sales Temporarily Hindered Market Growth amid Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the global automotive industry. Various countries across the globe introduced nationwide lockdown rules to prevent the spread of the virus. In addition, auto sales fell sharply in the second half of 2020 due to the pandemic and the associated strict social distancing regulations. Strict nationwide lockdowns and social distancing rules completely shut down various OEM manufacturing facilities, halting the movement of raw materials required to manufacture the product, directly or indirectly affecting thousands of dependent workers and industries. Moreover, lockdowns, unemployment, and the inclination to save money among consumers sharply reduced car needs, which significantly reduced consumer purchasing power. For example, Brembo's 2020 net sales decreased by 14% compared to 2019 sales.
However, in late 2021, various friction plate manufacturers resumed their operations with 50% of their workforce while maintaining appropriate social distancing standards to prevent virus transmission. Several countries worldwide also launched mass vaccination campaigns to curb the spread of the virus. These factors gradually increased the demand in the automotive market, boosting the global clutch friction plate market growth.
Increasing Adoption of Advanced Materials in Clutch Friction Plates
The product is made from organic compounds, which provide good friction characteristics, however they may wear out quickly. The need for improved fuel efficiency, power transmission, and overall durability has driven researchers and manufacturers to look for alternative materials with enhanced properties. Advanced alternatives, such as ceramic materials, offer excellent heat resistance and durability. They can withstand high temperatures generated during clutch engagement without significant wear. Ceramic friction plates have the potential to offer a longer lifespan and better performance, especially in high-performance vehicles.
Moreover, carbon-based composites can offer high friction coefficients, low wear rates, and excellent heat dissipation when combined with ceramics or other reinforcements. These materials can handle the stress of repeated clutch engagements and disengagements while maintaining consistent performance. Developing advanced surface coatings and treatments enhances existing materials' wear resistance and friction properties. These coatings can reduce friction losses, improve engagement characteristics, and prolong the lifespan of clutch plate.
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Adoption of Advanced Transmission Technologies to Drive Market Growth
The uptake of advanced transmission technologies, such as Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT) and Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), are anticipated to bolster market growth. These technologies can be seamlessly integrated with advanced clutch friction plates, allowing quicker and smoother gear change, reducing energy losses, and improving overall efficiency. Some advanced transmission technologies allow for different driving modes (sport, economy, and comfort), which can modify the behavior of the product. For instance, in a vehicle with adaptive transmission control, the friction plate’s engagement characteristics can be adjusted to suit the driver’s preferences or the driving conditions. This customization enhances driving comfort and engagement. This factor is anticipated to fuel the market growth during the forecast period.
Increasing Adoption of Electronic Clutch Control Systems to Boost Market Growth
Traditional clutch systems rely on mechanical linkages to engage and disengage the clutch. However, modern vehicles incorporate electronic clutch control to optimize the clutch’s behavior based on real-time data and driving conditions. The electronic clutch system utilizes sensors to monitor parameters such as engine speed, vehicle speed, throttle position, and even road conditions. This collected information is then processed through the Control algorithms in order to determine the clutch friction plate's optimal engagement and disengagement points. The electronic clutch allows for precise and adaptive engagement points, resulting in smoother gear change and reduced wear on the friction plate. This system plays a major role in situations such as stop-and-go traffic or hill start, where traditional manual control might be less precise. In addition, by analyzing the driving conditions and engine load, an electronic clutch system can optimize the clutch engagement to achieve better fuel efficiency. These factors are poised to bolster the growth of the market during the forecast period.
Overheating and Thermal Degradation Issues May Hamper the Market Growth
Excessive heat generation during clutch engagement cycles leads to the thermal degradation of clutch friction material. When the clutch is used continuously, such as during heavy traffic or towing, the heat generated causes friction material to lose its integrity. This results in a reduction in friction coefficient, which affects the clutch’s ability to transmit torque efficiently. In addition, frequent rapid acceleration, abrupt gear changes, and slipping of the clutch generate high friction and heat. These factors may hamper the growth of the clutch friction plates market during the forecast period.
Wet Friction Plate Segment Dominates due to Increasing Adoption of Automatic Transmissions
Based on product type, the market is segmented into dry friction plate and wet friction plate.
The wet friction plate held the largest market share in 2022 is expected to dominate the market over the forecast period. The wet friction plate consists of a friction material mounted on a metal substrate, and these plates are enclosed within a housing filled with transmission fluid or hydraulic oil. The immersion of wet friction plates in specialized fuels provides several advantages and contributes to the performance and durability of the clutch system. The wet friction plate is used in vehicles with automatic transmissions, dual-clutch transmissions (DCTs), and certain types of manual transmissions, as these types of transmissions require smooth engagement, heat dissipation, and high torque capacity. These factors drive the growth of the wet friction plate segment.
Moreover, sports cars and heavy-duty trucks require clutch systems to handle increased torque and frequent gear changes. Wet friction plates address these performance demands effectively. This another factor is expected to proliferate the segment’s growth.
Dry friction plates are composed of a friction material bonded or attached to a metal substrate. These plates operate in a dry environment with no surrounding fluid or lubrication. They have simple designs and do not require separate fluid housing or hydraulic systems. This results in less manufacturing and maintenance costs when compared to wet friction plates. The dry friction plates are commonly found in manual transmission systems, as these clutches are well suited for manual shifting, allowing drivers to control gear changes precisely. Increasing adoption of these clutch plates in entry-level vehicles is helping the segment to maintain its second-largest position in the market.
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Aftermarket Segment to Dominate due to Increasing Demand for Customization Services
Based on sales channel type, the market is segmented into OEM and aftermarket. The aftermarket segment holds the largest market share and is anticipated to maintain its dominance during the forecast period.
The aftermarket segment in the market is growing owing to the entrance of new market players who are focused on providing good quality, reliable, and affordable products. The growing need for aftermarket services such as maintenance, repair, and customization supports the segment’s growth. Moreover, some aftermarket clutch friction plates are engineered to offer improved performance over stock parts. They may provide higher torque capacity, faster engagement, and enhanced durability, making them suitable for modified vehicles or vehicles used for specific applications such as racing. These factors are further expected to maintain the dominance of the aftermarket segment during the forecast period.
The OEM segment is expected to hold the second-largest position in the market during the forecast period. The OEM clutch friction disc is a part supplied directly by the vehicle manufacturer when the vehicle is manufactured. Automakers primarily offer high-quality products that perfectly match the vehicle's clutch system, minimizing the risk of compatibility issues and ensuring proper operation. Moreover, the increasing trend of automobile production is expected to increase the usage of the product during the forecast period.
Passenger Cars Segment to Dominate Owing to Rising Inclination toward Automated Manual Transmission
Based on vehicle type, the market is segmented into passenger cars and commercial vehicles.
The passenger cars segment holds the largest clutch friction plate market share. Increased urbanization and improved living standards in developing countries have contributed to higher demand for personal transportation, boosting the market for passenger cars and the demand for clutch friction plates. In addition to personal use, commercial use of these vehicles in the form of taxis is also bolstering the segment’s growth. The dominance of the passenger car segment can also be attributed to several factors, such as the inclination of consumers toward automated manual transmission (AMTs), as they offer the convenience of automatic shifting with the control of manual transmission.
Commercial vehicles are essential for transporting goods, raw materials, and products in various industries and contribute to economic growth. For instance, in July 2023, according to the American Trucking Associations, trucks moved 11.46 billion tons of freight compared to 10.93 billion tons in 2022, generating a revenue of USD 940.8 billion. Moreover, rapid industrialization and growth in the logistics industry increase the sales of commercial vehicles, which play a key role in last-mile deliveries. These factors are expected to show steady growth of clutch friction plates in the commercial vehicle segment over the forecast period. In addition, commercial vehicles are heavily used daily in various industrial applications, requiring extensive maintenance of critical components such as engines, clutches, and brakes. Therefore, regular use of such components leads to high wear, contributing greatly to the after-sales service of the clutch friction plates. These factors are estimated to drive the commercial vehicle segment over the forecast period.
Geographically, the market is divided into North America, Europe, the Asia Pacific, and the rest of the world.
Asia Pacific Clutch Friction Plate Market Size, 2022 (USD Billion)
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Asia Pacific was valued at USD 5.49 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach USD 11.06 billion by 2030, with a CAGR of 9.44%, and is anticipated to dominate the market during the forecast period.
The growing demand for production and sales of passenger cars from emerging economies such as China, India, and Malaysia has led to rising demand for the product, thereby driving regional growth. For instance, according to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, the sale of passenger cars in the Asia Pacific increased to 8.5% in 2021 as compared to 5.4% in 2019. With a growing middle-class population, increasing urbanization, and disposable incomes, the demand for vehicles increased, boosting the need for the product in the region. Increasing market penetration of high-end cars and the deployment of convenient vehicle powertrain systems are further accelerating the demand for the product. Additionally, increasing growth due to government investment and foreign direct investment are expected to propel the region’s growth during the forecast period.
North America holds the second-largest market share due to the development of new technologies and materials in the region. The current trend in the region is the adoption of a high level of automation. Modern vehicles are equipped with sensors and electronic systems that provide data on clutch engagement, wear, and other performance metrics. This data can be used to optimize clutch performance and provide maintenance insights. The increasing technological advancements in the automotive sector are further expected to help the region maintain its position in the clutch friction plate industry.
Europe is expected to grow significantly during the forecast period. Growing trends from manual to semi-automatic to fully automatic transmission systems and evolving consumer preferences are expected to positively impact Europe’s market growth. In addition, customer trends seeking more convenient transmission modes and rising demand for passenger vehicles in emerging countries are expected to boost regional growth during the forecast period. Moreover, OEMs are focusing on expanding their production capacity by introducing new production equipment to meet the increasing demand, which is expected to drive the region’s market growth.
Companies are Investing in Research & Development to Gain Competitive Edge
The leading companies are dominating the global clutch friction plate industry due to their critical strategic decisions and robust product portfolios. These key companies have an extensive geographical presence and are engaged in R&D programs to secure regulatory approvals.
The market report provides detailed analysis and focuses on key aspects, such as leading companies, vehicle types, and product types. Besides this, it offers insights into the market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the factors above, the report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the market growth in recent years.
An Infographic Representation of Clutch Friction Plate Market
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CAGR of 10.06% from 2023 to 2030
Value (USD Billion) , Volume (Units)
By Product Type
By Sales Channel Type
By Vehicle Type
Fortune Business Insights study shows that the market size was valued at USD 11.69 billion in 2022.
The market is anticipated to register a CAGR of 10.06% during the forecast period.
Based on vehicle type, the passenger cars segment is expected to be the leading segment during the forecast period.
ZF Friedrichshafen AG and Valeo are the top players in the market.
Asia Pacific is expected to hold the largest market share during the forecast period.
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