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Electronics Production | November 24, 2010

Automotive MEMS sensor market with record high in 2010

Driven by the rapid recovery in automotive production and inventory rebuilding among sensor component suppliers, the market for automotive microelectromechanical system (MEMS) sensors will expand to record size in 2010, according to iSuppli.
Marking a new high point for the industry, shipments of automotive MEMS sensors will reach 662.3 million units in 2010, up a robust 32.1% from 501.2 million units in 2009. The projected year-end levels—including the replenishment of inventory pipelines that were depleted during the recession of 2009—will exceed even the pre-crisis high point in 2007 of 640 million sensors, iSuppli data research shows.

Nonetheless, growth will slow in 2011, with shipments anticipated to climb just 7.3% as the market normalizes following the exuberance in 2010. Production then will pick up again in 2012, and growth rates end up north of 13% by 2014, the market researcher continues.

Big shapers

One significant engine of automotive MEMS growth is the use of sensors in passenger cars supporting mandated safety technologies such as electronic stability control (ESC) and tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS).

The United States and Europe have led the adoption of legislation on such safety systems—and other countries like Australia and Canada have quickly followed suit. However, similar mandates are now being adopted in South Korea and are expected in Japan, accelerating overall adoption rates worldwide.

China will also account for a large portion of the automotive MEMS action. Compared to U.S. or European vehicles, the electronics content of low- and mid-range vehicles in China is about 50% or less, but sensor penetration will steadily increase—first in powertrain applications in order to reduce carbon emissions that choke Chinese cities and afterward as safety sensors for additional airbags and ESC systems, iSuppli believes.

Inroads also being made by consumer-oriented suppliers

iSuppli also notes that some consumer-oriented MEMS sensor suppliers are making inroads into the automotive market, widening the pool of players participating in the space.

In particular STMicroelectronics has now entered the airbag market with a high-g accelerometer. STM is expected to leverage its significant manufacturing economies of scale, which likely will lead to additional price pressures and new cost structures in the industry.
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December 13 2018 1:08 pm V11.10.14-1