Infineon takes the lead in auto semiconductors

January 26, 2015 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
After a pursuit race that lasted years, Infineon has taken the lead over long-standing number one Renesas in the automotive semiconductor market. While the IHS release does not state the figures for Renesas, Infineon could extend their market share from 9.2% in 2013 to 9.8% in 2014. Other winners are Freescale (7.4% market share after 7.0%), Texas Instruments (6.4% after 5.3%) and ON Semiconductors (from 2.9% to 3.6%). The latest figures from market research company IHS suggest that the market won't slow down anytime soon.

According to HIS, the fastest growing segments in the overall automotive semiconductor are hybrid electric drivetrains, telematics, and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). For the period from 2013 to 2018, the market researcher predicts a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20%, 19% and 18% respectively for these market segments. Infineon has a strong presence in powertrain, chassis and safety as well as body and convenience domains. Plus, the increased electrification n vehicles spurred the demand for power management solutions. All these factors together helped Infineon to pass from its position as the number 2 automotive chip vendor to the pole position.

A major demand driver is the emission-avoidance legislation which in turn favours sales of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). Such a vehicle demands ten times more semiconductors content in the powertrain than conventional IECs, said IHS analyst Ahad Bush.

Also contributing to higher semiconductor demand is the electrification of ancillary components such as cooling liquid pumps or power steering. As examples, IHS instances motor inverters that convert the direct current to alternating current and vice versa, driving the demand of DC/DC converters. The imminent introduction of split-voltage power supplies with 42 V as second voltage level besides the usual 12 V supply will further push the demand. Other demand drivers are battery management systems that monitor the status of the battery. After 24% growth in 2014, this segment is forecasted to increase another 22 % in 2015.

A similar situation is encountered in the ADAS segment. Because governments across the globe are encouraging higher safety standards, ADAS systems like lane departure warning (LDW), forward collision warning (FCW) or automatic emergency braking (AEB) are booming - and along with them, the demand for chip is taking off. The increasing usage of cameras as sensors for such systems, along with the powerful processors and larger memories required to analyse these data also drive the semiconductor demand. Therefore IHS expects the semiconductor