U.S. sales of turbocharged light vehicles are expected to triple by 2017 as automakers downsize their powertrains to meet federal corporate average fuel economy targets, Honeywell Transportation Systems predicts.
The total will jump from 1.3 million units last year to 4 million in 2017, forecasts Honeywell, a leading turbocharger manufacturer.
The Morristown, N.J., company expects 25 percent of light vehicles sold in the United States will be turbocharged in 2017.
"With the new CAFE standards out there, downsized powertrains [with turbochargers] is a primary adoption strategy," said Tony Schultz, vice president of the Americas for Honeywell Turbocharger Technologies. "In North America, I don't see any slowdown in the adoption rate."
Honeywell also made five-year projections for turbo sales in other key markets:
- In China, sales are expected to triple to 6.7 million units.
- In India, sales are expected to triple to 3 million units.
- European sales are expected to rise 35 percent to 17.4 million units, as automakers turbocharge more gasoline-powered vehicles.
Sales are rising more slowly in Europe because nearly all diesel powertrains, which account for more than half the market, already are turbocharged. But Honeywell expects some additional growth in that market as automakers slash carbon dioxide emissions.
By 2020, automakers are required to reduce carbon dioxide emissions per kilometer by 30 percent from 2011 levels.
Now that turbochargers are in great demand, two major German suppliers, Continental AG and Robert Bosch GmbH, are trying to muscle into the market.
Continental, for instance, has begun producing turbochargers for Ford Motor Co.'s three-cylinder powertrain used in the European Focus and Fiesta.
But while European and American automakers are quickly adopting turbochargers, Japanese automakers have been slower to do so. In part, that's because they introduced hybrid powertrains to boost fuel economy.
But that may be changing. This month, Toyota announced plans to introduce its first downsized turbocharged powerplant in 2014.
The automaker's engineers are debating how widely technologies such as direct injection and turbocharging should be used.
By contrast, the Detroit 3 are moving quickly to introduce turbochargers. Next year, for instance, Ford's Ecoboost line of turbocharged powertrains will be available in 90 percent of the automaker's North American model lineup.