The market for turbo chargers in small engines is about to heat up. If Honeywell is to be believed the global market will grow from 17 million new turbo vehicles in 2009 to 35 million in 2015, while the U.S. market will see growth from 5 percent to 20 percent of the internal combustion engine market. With the tightening CAFE requirements and the growth in demand for smaller vehicles,
American cars with turbochargers are currently few and far between, but that may soon be changing. While a significant and sustained increase in the price of fuel would greatly boost demand for turbochargers, auto manufacturers’ need to comply with carbon emissions and fuel economy targets will be the primary drivers of the domestic turbocharger market. When compared with cars with similar horsepower, those with turbocharged smaller engines can reduce emissions by 20 to 40 percent, and can increase fuel economy by 15 to 20 percent.
As is often the case, the U.S. lags Europe in adoption of this technology, partly because it has primarily been used with diesel engines. Turbochargers are now used in about half of all European cars. By comparison, U.S. penetration is at just five percent.