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Automotive to become semiconductor industry's best customer

November 08, 2010 | Christoph Hammerschmidt | 222901192
The significance of the automotive industry for semiconductor manufacturers will increase steeply over the next years, predicts Strategy Analytics. The biggest driver for semiconductor demand is, not a big surprise, power train electrification. The market researcher's figures however are astonishing.
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The automotive industry traditionally has been one of the semiconductor industry's best customers. Currently, six percent of the global semiconductor production ends up in a car. At the electronica automotive congress in Munich, Strategy Analytics Automotive Electronics Director Ian Riches predicted that there is much more to come: By 2017, this percentage will more than triple to 20 percent of the world's chips, diodes and transistors production volume.

Riches identified powertrain and safety as the most powerful demand drivers. The market researcher also compiled what he called the ten fastest growing applications for automotive semiconductors. They are electric powertrain, lane departure warning, e-call telematics, night vision, drowsiness monitor, collision warning, alternator regulators, hybrid electric powertrain, power seats, and passive keyless entry. In other words, eight of this top ten applications belong to the abovementioned fields of powertrain and safety.

Riches also predicted rather impressing growth rates for hybrid electric vehicles and electric vehicles production: For the time between 2010 and 2015, electric vehicle production will maintain an average growth rate of 104 percent per year. HEV production will grow at a less spectacular but still very healthy rate of 23 percent per year. Nevertheless, market participants could be excited about the high growth rates, Riches said, but they also should be realistic about the volumes: By 2015, HEVs will account for only 5 percent of the world's light vehicle – and for all-electric vehicles this figure is merely 1 percent.

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