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Automotive Display Shipments to Soar 89 Percent in Four Years

06 January 2013

Driven by increasing use in both midrange and economy-class vehicles, shipments of in-car automotive displays will nearly double during the four-year period from 2012 to 2016, propelled in part by a U.S. mandate on rear-view cameras, according to insights from the IHS iSuppli Mobile & Emerging Displays and Technology service from information and analytics provider IHS.

Shipments of automotive displays are projected to reach 116.8 million units by 2016, up a lofty 89 percent from 61.7 million units in 2012. Each year during the forecast period will enjoy double-digit growth ranging from 14.9 to 23.1 percent, with shipments crossing the hundred-million-unit mark in 2015. The products are all full-color thin-film-transistor liquid crystal displays, or TFT-LCDs.

Of the automotive display shipments in 2012, the bulk-approximately 37 percent-came from the 7.x-inch segment, with Tier 1 car makers like BMW, Volkswagen, Toyota, Ford and General Motors mostly choosing this size for their in-car navigation and infotainment systems. Platforms that used 7-inch center-stack displays included IntelliLink from General Motors, the Nissan Navigation System and the Toyota Premium HDD Navigation. The 7.x-inch touch displays are likely to also be the dominant display size for the emerging twin displays trend in center stacks, introduced in many concept cars such as the Infiniti LE and Acura RLX.

Boasting steady growth in demand, the 7.x-inch space overall is anticipated to maintain its market leadership in automotive displays during the next four years.

The second-largest automotive display size segment last year was the 3.x-inch segment, with a 19 percent market share. Displays sized 3.x-inch are often implemented in either of two ways-as multiple display panels per vehicle instrument cluster in midrange cars; or as a simple infotainment display for the predominant economy-vehicle segment. While penetration of center-stack displays is low in the economy vehicle segment compared to other vehicle categories, the large market size of economy vehicles as a whole has contributed to strong numbers for the 3.x-inch.

Together, the 7.x-inch and the 3.x-inch accounted for a combined 56 percent share of the automotive displays market, with the remainder taken up by 6.x-, 4.x- and 8.x-inch displays.

An impending market driver that will be influential for automotive displays will be the mandate for rear-view cameras, required in all U.S. vehicles by 2014 and projected to account for 21 percent of global automotive display sales that year. The mandate for the cameras, designed to enhance car safety by helping extend the driver's field of vision, will mostly affect the economy vehicle segment. Here, 3.x-inch displays with their lower average selling cost are expected to be the choice in economy vehicles over larger-sized displays, while larger rear-view camera displays sized 6.x- to 8.x-inch will more likely be found in midrange cars.  

Automotive displays provide a sustainable business opportunity for display makers
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 suppliers are now showing increased interest to expand their presence to the automotive market given the 10-year supply chain lifetime for vehicle moving parts.

Japanese companies such as Sharp and JDI were the main suppliers of automotive displays in 2012. Both companies provide a high degree of customization in their automotive display products, and also are capable of accommodating sundry technical requests from car makers and automotive display system integrators. Overall, the Japanese were successful in supporting large orders, in light of high-capacity allocations in Generation 3 and 4 fabs for producing automotive displays.

Other panel suppliers are also jumping into the space, enticed by a fast-growing market. Taiwanese suppliers such as AUO and CMI, as well as Korean display suppliers like LG Display, are dedicating capacity at their fabs to produce more automotive displays.

Competition within the automotive display market is predicted to intensify during the next five years, and suppliers will need to keep pace with market dynamics and spot key trends to take advantage of emerging opportunities, IHS iSuppli believes.

Read More >> Automotive Display Market Report, 2012

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