Honeywell boosts development as turbo supply market heats up

  • 17-Feb-2010 11:49 EST

Honeywell executives say their company is aggressively developing turbocharger technologies designed specifically for smaller-displacement gasoline engines.

They note that engines of up to 1.4-L displacement are part of a "rapidly growing sector expected to reach up to 4-6% penetration in all U.S. light vehicle sales by 2014."

Honeywell Turbo Technologies supplies Ford's new EcoBoost engines. GM also will deploy a Honeywell turbocharger as part of an engine option in the upcoming Chevrolet Cruze's 1.4-L I4.

The turbo used on the GM Ecotec engine is designed specifically for smaller swept cylinder volumes. It is said to incorporate new advances in bearing technology and airflow.

"Thanks to a turbo's unique ability to increase the performance output of smaller-displacement engines, a downsizing revolution is under way in the U.S. and around the world," said Alex Ismail, President and CEO of Honeywell Transportation Systems.

Over the next decade, this mega trend will see an average reduction in engine displacement from 3.6 to 2.9 L in the U.S. market. There will also be a corresponding shift from V8 and V6 engines to four-cylinders, with high-volume growth in four-cylinder turbocharged engines of around 1.4 L, Ismail noted.

The trend toward downsized, boosted gasoline engines has brought new players into the OEM turbocharger supply sector. Besides Honeywell (the current OEM market leader with over 50% share), BorgWarner Turbo & Emission Systems (second in market share) and veteran Japanese supplier IHI, among others, two new German turbocharger suppliers are preparing to enter the market.

Continental is developing a new range of passenger-vehicle turbos which will be produced by Schaeffler Group. Schaeffler owns 49.9% of Continental and is also developing the turbos' bearings. Bosch and Mahle also have a turbocharger development partnership. Both sets of supplier partners will launch their new turbos on production vehicles in 2011.     

Honeywell executives expect overall penetration of turbocharged gasoline engines in the U.S. to reach 25% by 2014, up from 5% in 2009.

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