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HomeTips & GuidesAutomotive Wire Harness Market: Drivers, Insights, Restraints, and More

Automotive Wire Harness Market: Drivers, Insights, Restraints, and More

The automotive wire harness market was worth around $47 billion in 2021, and projections show it will hit over $57 billion in 2026. This number will rise to over $80 billion in 2032. 

The growth in this automotive industry sector is attributable to the increase in demand for electric and autonomous vehicles, which have sophisticated wiring systems. 

Additionally, cars are increasingly getting more electronic features due to the competitive landscape. So let’s analyze this market to see what informs the projection figures.

Table of Contents

Key Automotive Wiring Harness Market Drivers

These factors include the following.

Safety Driver Assist Features

The primary driver is the sophistication and demand for safety features witnessed in modern vehicles.

Car buyers have become more aware of safety and security features, leading to an increase in driver-assist functions.

Think of features like adaptive cruise control, adaptive forward lighting, blind spot detection, and lane keep assist.

All require sensors and cameras, with wire harnesses to link them to the computer and dashboard.

A blindspot monitoring system

A blindspot monitoring system

At first, these advanced safety features were optional and reserved for high trim levels in specific car models.

But they’ve almost become standard, with transportation agencies like the NHTSA expecting automatic emergency braking systems to be standard in passenger vehicles by 2022.

Comfort Features

Comfort features also make cars have more sophisticated electronics, and they have become competing points among different car brands.

Think of functions like ambient lighting, voice recognition, heated seats and steering wheels, massage seats, fully featured infotainment systems, sunroofs, steering controls, etc.

Car seat wiring

Car seat wiring

All these features require wire harness bundles, which drives the demand for automotive wire harnesses.

Complex Computer

The electronic control unit (car computer) handles more functions in modern cars. And it needs to get signal input from cameras, sensors, actuators, etc., to assist the driver or drive the vehicle autonomously.

Getting this data to the computer requires thick wire bundles.

A car’s ECU

A car’s ECU

Transitioning to Electronics Engines

Asia-Pacific, European, and North American region governments have introduced mandates for adopting electronic engines that reduce emissions.

For instance, there are the Euro VI engines in Europe, BSIV engines in India, and China VI.

These engines integrate multiple sensors, telematics, and communication devices to maximize efficiency by coordinating engine functions. The connection between these devices requires more engine harness wires.

Automotive Wiring Harness Market Size Restraints

With increased components, there are higher chances of failure. And one of the most typical issues in modern cars is failing electronics. It can be the sensors, but wire harnesses fail, as well.

Conditions like high or low temperatures, humidity, bending, and shorting can damage the wires, shortening their lifespan.

Car wiring harness from the ECU

Car wiring harness from the ECU

Corrosion is a significant issue that primarily affects aluminum wire harnesses if connected to copper terminals. This issue also interferes with electric or signal current flow, which can pop error codes on the dashboard or cause system malfunctions.

Such factors can hamper the growth of the automotive wire harness market.

Automotive Wire Harness Market Copper Cost Challenges

The primary material used to build wire harnesses is copper because it is reliable, flexible, offers high conductivity, and can create tiny bundles. But the material’s increase in demand has increased its price globally.

So some manufacturers have switched to making aluminum wire harnesses. This material is not as good as copper because it exhibits the following issues.

How galvanic corrosion occurs

How galvanic corrosion occurs

But it also has advantages, such as a lower cost and weight than copper. But copper remains the primary material, leaving wire harness manufacturers at the mercy of price fluctuations.

And the weight issue is quite significant. The entire wiring harness in a vehicle can weigh as much as 70 kg in modern cars, making this component rank third after the engine and chassis.

In electric vehicles, wires can weigh up to 30% more than internal combustion engines, which reduces range.

This weight increases fuel consumption in hybrid and internal combustion engine vehicles, which increases emissions. 

Automotive Wire Harness Market Opportunities

Copper has weight and high cost/fluctuation price disadvantages. On the other hand, aluminum does not perform as well as copper. So there should be a third option.

And strict emission standards set by governments, such as the US CAFE law, necessitated a third option.

Car manufacturers found it necessary to reduce car weights to:

  • Cut emissions
  • Increase fuel economy
  • Enhance performance (speed and acceleration)
  • Improve mobility

And one of the areas to look at was the automotive wire harness. So there is an increasing demand for specialty cables that reduce the size and weight of car-wiring harness systems.

Some original equipment manufacturers have switched to optical fiber cables for high-speed signal transition from cameras, infotainment systems, displays, etc.

Optical fiber cables are also more durable than copper when operating in harsh conditions.

But power transmission requires metal, and automotive wiring harness manufacturers have found solutions in these lightweight harnesses.

  • Aluminum-copper alloys
  • High-voltage coaxial cables

Automotive Wiring Harness Market Segmentation

As the automotive wiring harness size grows, it is critical to analyze its segments in the following categories.

Application

In the application segment, we have the following types.

  • Engine harness
  • Chassis wiring harness
  • HVAC harness
  • Seat harness
  • Door wiring harness
  • Body and light harness
  • Dashboard or cabin harness
  • Battery harness
  • Sunroof harness

The dashboard/cabin harness currently leads the pack due to the expansion of dashboard displays, entertainment/infotainment systems, and other fancy features around the cabin.

Dashboard wiring

Dashboard wiring

Because most controls are around the dash, there are a lot of wires behind the plastic or leather cover. Even seat harnesses rely on dash wires to provide control buttons or knobs for temperature adjustment.

But the chassis harness segment is expected to overtake its cabin counterpart during the forecast period due to the sensors and electronic systems appearing in these parts.

  • Air brake pumps
  • Frames
  • Suspension systems

Manufacturers are trying to shorten the distance of chassis harnesses to make them lighter.

Vehicle Type

Vehicles are either passenger or commercial. The latter refers to vehicles with four wheels with at least two axles and require a driver.

Most passenger vehicles are public-transportation vehicles and are more likely to have a higher acceptance of automotive wiring harnesses in the future.

These electronic systems improve fuel efficiency, increase power output, and reduce maintenance costs. So passenger vehicle owners will demand them more.

Material

When considering the material, there are either metal or optical fiber cables. The metal category is copper or aluminum, while the fiber class usually has plastic or glass options.

Metal wire harnesses have the largest market share, but optical fibers are becoming increasingly popular and acceptable.

Predictions show they will beat their metal counterparts, especially the plastic type. Their high-speed data transmission and lower price than glass are pushing their growth.

These plastic fiber cables are more likely to serve features like:

  • Augmented dashboards
  • Automatic door locks
  • Advanced driver assistance systems
  • Automatic gearbox
A futuristic augmented car dashboard

A futuristic augmented car dashboard

Transmission

When considering transmission, there is either data or electric power transmission. Basic (entry-level) and mid-level vehicles have a higher market share than high-end cars.

And these vehicles don’t have as many sensors or communication features that require data transmission.

So the demand for electric transmission auto wire harnesses is likely to increase. And electrical power transmission requires metal wires.

Also, projections indicate a demand increase for semi-autonomous and driverless cars.

So the expectation is an increase in high transmission speed harnesses to relay real-time information to the onboard computer. And the feedback should be instant.

Propulsion

Cars can run on internal combustion engines, hybrid motors, or batteries.

Projections indicate the market share of hybrid and electric vehicles will increase, and reliable electrical transmission requires thick copper wires.

An EV battery pack with thick copper wires

An EV battery pack with thick copper wires

So although copper wires are heavy and expensive, they won’t disappear from our cars in the future. But some will adopt aluminum, especially electric vehicles made in China, to cut costs.

Region

Generally, the Asia-Pacific region is the largest automotive wire harness market. And most of the demand comes from China, Japan, India, South Korea, and Thailand.

Globally, this region accounted for over 55% of the market share, with China leading the way because it is the largest automotive manufacturer.

The country produced 21.4 million passenger cars and 4.6 million commercial vehicles in 2021, representing a 60% wire harness market share in the region.

China (and the Asia-Pacific region) will continue leading in vehicle production during the forecast period, meaning the continent will be the largest market.

Chinese car manufacturers are increasingly shifting to cheaper, lightweight materials like aluminum to make these harnesses. So the demand for aluminum harnesses might increase.

Automotive Wiring Harness Key Players

Here is a categorization by country.

China

  • Cloom

Germany

  • Leoni AG
  • Nexans autoelectric GmbH

India

  • Samvardhana Motherson Group (Motherson Sumi Systems)
  • Spark Minda

Japan

  • Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd.
  • Furukawa Electric Co. Ltd.
  • Yazaki Corporation
  • Fujikura Ltd.

North America (United States)

  • BorgWarner, Inc.
  • Lear Corporation
  • AmWINS Group Inc.

South Korea

  • Yura Corporation

United Kingdom

  • Delphi Automotive Plc

Finland

  • PKC Group

Wrap Up

The automotive wiring harness market has different variables that determine its performance and projections in the future. 

But what is certain is the profits in the industry will increase as the demand for cars shoots up. 

Variables like materials can change, so you should be ready to switch as a wire harness manufacturer or be left behind. 

That’s it for this article. Share your thoughts in the comments below to keep the conversation going.

I am Lillian Yang, having been a sales manager for over 10 years.

I have received many positive reviews from customers. They have praised our excellent service, on-time delivery, and high-quality cable assemblies.

For your projects, please provide cable assembly files/images/smples, etc., so that I can send you a quotation within 24 hours.

Contact me now and let’s get started on building your wire harnesses!

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