Browse Publications Technical Papers 2014-36-0213

Suspension for an Entry Level Mini Car 2014-36-0213

The Brazilian automotive market presents special characteristics: at the same time that it demands similar technologies applied in developed markets like USA and Europe for luxury cars, in the sub-compact entry-level segments (a segment where the profit margin is very tight) there are unique characteristics that justify the development of different cars.
Taking into consideration the mini cars segment, there is no car developed specifically for the Brazilian market. While the mini cars development for the entry level segment is still rare, every new auto show presents new proposals and some of them are on the streets, but most are mainly focused in the luxury segment. These vehicles currently in the market are in a price range where it is not economically feasible for them to be acquired by someone who is coming from a motorcycle-based usage. The same economical reason limits the usage of these cars as a second smaller car for urban mobility (go to work, school, shopping, etc.), where the traditional (and bigger) family car could be left normally at home, with considerable improvements on urban mobility, pollution and fuel economy.
The feasibility for a mini car development aiming this specific entry level market niche for Brazilian and other emerging markets depends on several technical and economic factors, and this paper is intended to investigate how this could work for the suspension architecture point of view, identifying the suspension indicated to a mini car considering technical and economical factors, which is a first and crucial step for the vehicle development. This is done by means of analyzing the types of suspensions available and their construction and dynamic features applied to mini cars, result in a reduce stability. These studies consider that a key factor for the success of such development is related to the economical aspects related and the conclusions are based on a feasible balance between construction and maintenance costs with the comfort, considering that they will have predominant urban usage.


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