Automotive LCD shipments market to run hot, IHS predicts

January 17, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Navigation systems, configurable graphical instrument clusters, and first of all the U.S. mandate on rear-view cameras will drive the demand for automotive full-color liquid crystal displays (LCD) in the years ahead. For this reason, shipments of such displays will nearly double during the four-year period from 2012 to 2016, predicts market research company IHS.

Shipments of automotive LCDs are projected to reach 116.8 million units by 2016, up a lofty 89 percent from 61.7 million units in 2012, according to an IHS iSuppli Mobile & Emerging Displays and Technology Service. Each year during the forecast period will enjoy double-digit growth ranging from 15 to 23 percent, with shipments crossing the hundred-million-unit mark in 2015, as shown in the figure. The products are all full-color thin-film-transistor liquid crystal displays, or TFT-LCDs.

“A major driver of growth in the automotive LCD market during the next few years is a U.S. government mandate requiring all cars to incorporate rear-view cameras by 2014,” said Vinita Jakhanwal, director for small and medium displays at IHS. “The mandate will result in an increase in displays used in cars. Most of these displays will find a place in the center stack consoles of cars, causing center stack display market shipments to rise 21 percent year over year in 2014.”

Rear-view cameras enhance car safety by helping extend the driver's field of vision. This can prevent drivers from striking objects and pedestrians when backing up.

The mandate is mainly expected to affect the economy vehicle segment, which currently doesn’t employ in-car TFT-LCD displays to a very large degree. Here, 3.x-inch displays with their lower average selling cost are expected to be the choice in economy vehicles over larger-sized displays. Larger rear-view camera displays sized 6.x- to 8.x-inch more likely will be found in midrange cars.

Compared to other display applications, the automotive display market is highly customized, requiring different display specifications in order to match the vehicle’s brand value. A long life cycle of design and production is typical, as automotive displays need to support a five-year period of vehicle production, including support warranties and SKUs for another few years. And far from being content to sell screens for consumer electronic items like televisions, mobile handsets, tablets and digital still cameras, display