Production of turbocharged vehicles is expected to jump nearly 32 percent this year as automakers reduce the size of engines to improve fuel economy, according to a forecast by IHS Automotive.
The suburban Detroit research firm expects automakers in North America to produce 2.9 million turbocharged light vehicles in 2013, up from an estimated 2.2 million in 2012.
Ford Motor Co. will lead the way as it ramps up for a full year's production of its redesigned Ford Fusion sedan and the Escape crossover. Both vehicles are available with gasoline direct injection and turbochargers.
In 2013, Ford says turbocharged EcoBoost engines will be available on 90 percent of its U.S. nameplates.
Likewise, General Motors is producing a turbocharged version of its Chevrolet Cruze and Sonic, and Chrysler Group is marketing a turbocharged Dodge Dart.
"Automakers are downsizing and boosting" their engines, said Tony Schulz, vice president of the Americas for Honeywell Turbocharger Technologies. "We're seeing an all-out push for more applications."
Honeywell and BorgWarner Inc. -- North America's top two producers of turbochargers -- are positioned to profit from the trend. Ford buys turbochargers from both companies.
BorgWarner produces the turbocharger for the 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter engines used in the Ford Fiesta, Focus, Escape, Fusion and Explorer.
Honeywell supplies turbos for the 3.5-liter engine used in the Ford Flex and Taurus SHO, and also the Lincoln MKS and MKT.
The two suppliers are running neck and neck in North America's turbocharger market, although Honeywell remains the top global producer.
Turbocharger use will continue to rise over the next five years as automakers race to meet the 54.5 mpg CAFE standard by the 2025 model year.
In 2014, for example, IHS Automotive projects 3.5 million light vehicles produced in North America will be turbocharged, up 20 percent from 2013's expected output.