Due to transmission technologies’ ability to provide better efficiency and performance, dual clutch transmissions (DCTs) are expected to play a defining role in the global gearbox mix by 2020, according to a new study.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan - Strategic Analysis of the Global Market for Dual Clutch Transmission Technology in Passenger Vehicles - found DCTs are expected to account for a nine to 11% share of the overall transmissions market, equivalent to approximately 9.4m to 9.6m vehicles with this technology by 2020.

The dry clutch DCT is likely to be more dominant by 2020 due to its anticipated adoption within the small car segment and lower costs compared to wet clutch DCT. Its popularity among European and American OEMs will further contribute to its pervasiveness.

"Globally, emission standards and fuel economy targets are pushing OEMs to constantly adopt cleaner and greener technology while simultaneously meeting consumer expectations for smoother transmissions,” said automotive and transportation research analyst Yeswant Abhimanyu.

Automatic transmissions are dominant in North America while Europe and China have shown a marked preference for manual transmission. However, by 2020, Europe and China are expected to be the most attractive DCT markets.

While European consumers have reacted positively to OEMs’ promotion of DCTs, consumers in China are looking for next-generation technologies. Therefore, a number of foreign OEMs in the country are introducing DCTs while others are partnering with suppliers to purchase and develop sophisticated DCTs.

China and India are also expected to be attractive low-cost DCT markets by 2020.

Even though OEMs are actively incorporating DCT in their vehicles, the technology might not find eager acceptance across all regions, especially in cost-sensitive markets. Some regions are also set in their preference for certain types of transmission technologies.

Supplier-OEM partnerships are therefore critical for region-specific deployments of DCT. A number of suppliers are expected to offer entire transmission packages in the future, possibly in partnership with other market participants.

“A global powertrain strategy for OEMs is expected to have a key role to play in achieving economies of scale for DCT technology. Numerous OEMs are also resorting to in-house transmission development, as it is considered a core competence and a key pillar of the overall global powertrain strategy,” noted Abhimanyu.

“All of these efforts are expected to accelerate the global uptake of DCT technology.”