IC Insights raises forecast for automotive semiconductors

June 07, 2011 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Sophisticated electronic systems, a few years ago the exclusive domain of luxury-class vehicles, have become more commonplace in mid-range and lower-priced automobiles. During the past year, this trickle-down effect was more pronounced than market researcher IC Insights anticipated. Consequently, the company raised its forecast for the average semiconductor content per car.

In the mid-year update to its 2011 IC Market Drivers report, IC Insights forecasts an average semiconductor content per car in 2011to $350. This represents a 15% increase from the $305 average in 2010 (Figure 1).

Figure 1

Semiconductor content per vehicle is expected to increase an average of 9% annually between 2010 and 2014, growing to $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. In addition, IC Insights expects that 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, the market researchers say.

These figures are contained in IC Insights' mid-year update to its 2011 IC Market Drivers report. With over 100-pages, the report details and forecasts automotive and other electronic systems that are driving the IC market. It examines leading applications for ICs and