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03
June
2011

Automotive semiconductor market gears up for strong year

Semiconductor content per vehicle varies based on make and model, trim level, environmental concerns, and regional government regulations. But, in 2011, the trickle-down effect of technology in automobiles is having a greater impact than originally anticipated.
Sophisticated electronic systems, that were the exclusive domain of luxury-class vehicles a few years ago, have become more commonplace in mid-range and lower-priced automobiles. Consequently, in the mid-year update to its 2011 IC Market Drivers report, IC Insights has raised its forecast for average semiconductor content per automobile to USD 350 in 2011. This represents a 15% increase from the USD 305 average in 2010.

Semiconductor content per vehicle is expected to increase an average of 9% annually between 2010 and 2014, growing to USD 425 per vehicle at the end of the forecast period. Growth drivers for the automotive semiconductor market through the forecast period include the convergence of communications and entertainment features, safety and telematics, and green initiatives.

Safety features such as airbags, curtain restraint systems, and tire-pressure monitoring systems are required on most new vehicles sold in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. In Europe, tire-pressure sensors will be a requirement on all new cars sold there after November 1, 2011.

This is bound to boost the applications of tire-pressure monitoring systems (TPMSs) as it did when the U.S. instituted the requirement in 2006. Electronic stability control (ESC) systems will be required for all new cars sold in the U.S. starting in 2012. Rear-facing cameras will soon to be mandated features for cars sold in the U.S. and park-assist electronics are growing more common in many car models.

Connectivity and onboard telematics are growing as essential selling points for new-car shoppers who want to smoothly transition content from their portable media devices to their car, home or office. New cars with built-in Bluetooth technology have become commonplace, but center-stack displays that replicate the driver's smartphone screen and onboard charging pads for phones and portable electronics will soon be standard equipment on many new cars.
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