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Report forecasts steady growth of ICs in cars

Posted: 06 Aug 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:in-car infotainment? telematics? automotive electronics? in-car electronics?

Despite the recent dent in automotive OEM's market expectations, semiconductor content in light road vehicles is expected to enjoy a steady market growth through 2015, a Semicast study finds.

The global market for automotive semiconductors is forecast to grow from $20 billion in 2007 to just over $30 billion in 2015. This suggests the automotive sector accounts for 7 to 8 percent of the total available market. Continued semiconductor demand is expected in each of the main areas of the vehicle such as powertrain, body electronics, comfort electronics and infotainment. Since electronic components and electronically controlled subsystems increasingly pervade the vehicles, the average semiconductor content per new light vehicle will grow from around $295 in 2007 to $375 in 2015.

The experts see the highest chip demand growth in the infotainment sector which includes audio, radio, navigation and telematics. In this segment, demand is forecast to grow from $4 billion in 2007 to $7.5 billion in 2015, which makes up to an average growth of almost 9 percent annually. Key growth driver is the evolution of the in-car infotainment system. Increased shipments of rear-seat entertainment systems, satellite radio and telematics will contribute to this growth.

Nevertheless, the "under-the-hood" systems such as ABS, fuel efficiency improvement systems and related engine control systems as well as chassis and suspension control systems will continue to account for the by far highest share of the semiconductor content within the car. Semicast experts predict that this share will decline slightly over the forecast periodfrom 80 percent today to still about 75 percent in 2015.

The market researchers also expect solid state lighting to become one of the key "under-the-hood" applications to drive the growth. In addition, parking assistant systems (both ultrasonic and camera-based) are gaining rapid adoption, creating business opportunities for chip vendors.

Safety will remain another key topic for automotive electronics. Driver assistance systems including blind spot detection, electronic stability control, intelligent airbag control systems and tire pressure warning systems are growth drivers since legislation in regional markets increasingly makes adoption compulsory.

Similarly, advancements in engine control systems to reduce emissions and improve fuel consumption will remain another growth driver. Emission regulation will provide steady growth for semiconductor vendors for at least the next 20 years, Semicast believes.

However, the study does not take in account the effects of future alternative drive system such as hybrid drives and electric drives. Against the background of the recent oil price hikes and tightening of emission laws it will be interesting to see how these factors will modify the in-car electronics landscape.

- Christoph Hammerschmidt
EE Times Europe

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