Chevrolet Captiva C140 Head Unit Teardown

03 October 2012
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Benchmarking.

IHS Insight Perspective

This is a head unit built by a source we believe may be Shinco for Shanghai GM - though even for a single automobile, several sources are usually secured to produce the same units (multisourcing). This head unit, which is mechless, but features a full size touchscreen, navigation and even a GSM connectivity module, goes into the Chevrolet Captiva C140 - an SUV aimed at the Asian market (China, but also other Asian countries). The head units that we see going into the China market reflect a different supply chain using more domestic Chinese sourcing for components, and are using, by and large, OEMs to produce the head units that are domestic Chinese as well. The component selections seem more similar to consumer electronics, and less like automotive electronics (as a general rule - though each design may have exceptions). This produces a lower cost by far, than say, those from Japanese vendors for the OEM market.

Chevrolet Captiva C140 Head Unit Main ImageChevrolet Captiva C140 Head Unit Main Image

Feature Significance

This unit features a 6.95' Diagonals screen, 262K Color a-Si TFT, with 800 x 480 Pixels - and a conventional 4-wire resistive touch screen (very old technology with poor touch sensitivity - but inexpensive to implement). The device, as with GM vehicles in the US that feature OnStar - comes with an embedded wireless module (though this module is GSM based - not CDMA). This wireless module is from SimCOM, and is a dual-band GSM/GPRS Module (900/1800MHz). The core of the device is based on a TeleChips processor (ARM core based). This is a mechless unit with no CD or DVD drive and no significant onboard storage for media content (either in the form of HDD, SSD, or NAND Flash). The unit does, however, come with a CMMB TV tuner module - but no terrestrial FM tuners.

Design Significance

This is a fairly barebones design for an automotive head unit - and despite having a GSM/GPRS wireless module and even a CMMB TV tuner - overall the component count is low, and the choice of suppliers for things like the display (Shanghai Tianma), and the GSM module from SimCOM, show a more domestic, China-centric approach in the design. With most automotive design - there is a tendency for each auto manufacturer, based on their regional heritage, to work along national or regional lines in their component selection. This design is mechless, but also FM radio tunerless and indicates that the priorities for consumers in a market like Asia's are rapidly moving away from legacy media (CDs and DVDs) and traditional radio broadcast in favor of a simpler head unit that simply interfaces with mobile devices to channel the output from them for infotainment purposes, which still centralizing the GPS function on the head unit.

Chevrolet Captiva C140 Head Unit - Main PCB TopChevrolet Captiva C140 Head Unit - Main PCB Top

Target Market

Chevrolet China /Asia

This is an OEM unit, it seems, but may be an aftermarket option installed and offered by Chevrolet. The unit is labeled to be specific to the Chevrolet Captiva C140 (Shanghai GM) destined for the domestic Chinese and other Asian markets.


2012 Assumed

It is assumed that this design is current and for current model years.

Chevrolet Captiva C140 Head Unit - Main PCB BottomChevrolet Captiva C140 Head Unit - Main PCB Bottom

Pricing and Availability


Other units torn down in parallel with this unit, and also for the China market, were selling in the 3000 - 4000 RMB range - so pricing for this unit, if sold as an aftermarket installable option, is likely similar.

China / Asia

The Chevrolet Captiva C140 is aimed at the China and Asia market.

Volume Estimations

30,000 Total Units
4 Total Years

For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have assumed an Annual Production Volume of 30000 units and a Product Lifetime Volume of 4 year(s).

Teardown volume and production assumptions are primarily used for our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially). Unless assumed volumes are different by an order of magnitude, minor changes in volume (say 1 million vs. 2) rarely have a large net effect on our final analysis because of this.

Market Performance

From IHS Automotive - China Infotainment Research:

We categorize the embedded in-vehicle navigation systems under two categories, OEM (factory embedded) and aftermarket (OEM-monitored products only, not including those random brands and Shangzhai products).

What our own forecast and penetration data tells us is that in China, the in-vehicle navigation systems (including both the OEM and aftermarket) have experienced huge growth starting from 2008, together with the impressive auto sales growth in the past few years in the market. The in-vehicle navigation attach rate for both market segments went from 5% in 2007 to 11.9% in 2008, and then jumped to 28.95% now in 2012, mainly due to the lowering cost of these systems and OEM's strategic emphasis on launching such systems as a unit selling point for gaining customers over competitors. It is estimated that the growth trend will very likely to continue and by 2017, about 36.8% of the passenger vehicles sold in China will be installed with an embedded navigation system, either from the OEM factories or from the authorized dealerships.

In addition, up till today, in China, aftermarket IVN systems still sold much more than the OEM systems, because aftermarket products offer much cheaper pricing than the OEM counterparts. In 2012, the attach rate of OEM systems is 10.35% (a total of 196 million units), while the attach rate of aftermarket systems is 18.6% (a total of 352 million units), the ratio is about 1:1.8. However, since there are more and more low-cost OEM factory embedded navigation systems launching the market with better quality than the aftermarket products in the same price range, it is forecasted that the ratio between these two market segments will significantly narrower in the coming years, with OEM systems continue to gain market share over the aftermarket products and finally take over the lead in 2017, with an attach rate of 19.9%, as compared to aftermarket's 16.9%.

Chevrolet Captiva C140 Head Unit Cost AnalysisChevrolet Captiva C140 Head Unit Cost Analysis

Cost Notes

Much attention was paid, in this analysis, to the various quality levels (automotive vs. consumer) for each component used in the bill of materials. However it is impossible for us to know, in many cases (such as passive components) what grade of product is used. This indication is limited to those parts where complete part numbers are identifiable. The indication of consumer grade and automotive is indicated in a special column in the bill of materials for each part - where identified.

Total BOM: $103.64
Top Cost Drivers below: $68.67
% of Total BOM 66%

Main Cost Drivers below

Tianma TM070RDH01 Display Module - 6.95' Diagonal, 262K Color a-Si TFT, 800 x 480 Pixels, 196.5um x 171.5um Pixel Size, 157.20mm x 82.32mm Active Area, 400 CD/m2, w/ Integral Flex/FR4 PCB, 30 Backlight LEDs & 2 Discrete Wires & 2-Position Pin Socket & Conductive Cloth Laminate- (Qty: 1)
SimCOM SIM900A GSM/GPRS Module - Dual-Band GSM/GPRS 900/1800MHz, GPRS Class 10/8 & GPRS Mobile Station Class B- (Qty: 1)
Telechips TCC8901 Digital Multimedia Processor - ARM1176JZF-S RISC Core- (Qty: 1)
Touchscreen Overlay - 6.95' Diagonal, 4-Wire Resistive, ITO Film over Glass, w/ Integral Flex PCB- (Qty: 1)
CMMB Mobile TV Module - S-TiMi, UHF 470 to 862MHz, Supports USB2.0/SPI/SDIO/TS- (Qty: 1)
St Ericsson PNX4902FL_2 Baseband / RF Transceiver - Tri-Band GSM/GPRS 850/1800/1900 or GSM/GPRS 900/1800/1900, GPRS Class 10- (Qty: 1)
Enclosure, Main, Front Panel - Injection Molded Plastic, Painted- (Qty: 1)
Shanghai Printronics Electronics Co., LTD 6-Layer - FR4, Lead-Free- (Qty: 1)
Hynix H27UBG8T2ATR-BC Flash - NAND, 4GB, MLC, 32nm- (Qty: 1)
Intersil TW8816-LB3-GR LCD Controller - Integrated 2D Video Decoder, 2D De-Interlacer/Scale, 8-Bit 8051 MCU, CCFL Controller- (Qty: 1)

Not Included in Analysis

The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect ONLY the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), AND manufacturing with basic test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacture of the core device itself ? cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees (those not already included into the per component price), software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing and other channel costs including not only EMS provider and the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device and exceptionally in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.

We do provide an Excel tab 'Overall Costs' where a user can enter their known pre and post production costs to build a per unit cost reflective of theirs actual expenditures.

Manufacturing Notes

Shinco Electronics Group Co., Ltd seems to be at least one source for GM for this head unit - but may be only one of several sources. It is assumed they perform their own manufacturing in house and appear to be entirely located in China from a manufacturing perspective. It is assumed the whole unit is built in China.

Country of Origin

For the purposes of this analysis, we are assuming the following country(ies) of origin for each level of assembly, based on a combination of 'Made In' markings, and/or assumptions based on our knowledge of such equipment.

Display / Touchscreen - China
Interface PCB(s) - China
Main PCB - China
Other - Enclosures / Final Assembly - China

Country of origin assumptions relate directly to the associated cost of manufacturing, where calculated by iSuppli. In the cases of 'finished' sub-assemblies (such as TBD), we do not calculate internal manufacturing costs, but rather assess the market price of the finished product in which case country of origin assumptions may or may not have a direct effect on pricing.

Labor rates are applied directly only to hand inserted components and systems in our bill of materials, and although regional assumptions do, these new rates do not have a direct effect on our modeled calculations of placement costs for automated SMD assembly lines. ?Auto" inserted components (such as SMT components) placement costs are calculated by an iSuppli algorithm which allocates a cost per component based on the size and pincount of the device. This calculation is affected by country or region of origin as well.

Design Complexity

Component counts by assembly and the number of assembly are indicators of design complexity and efficiency.

Component Qty: 887 - Main PCB
Component Qty: 6 - Display / Touchscreen
Component Qty: 69 - Other - Enclosures / Final Assembly
Component Qty: 46 - Interface PCB(s)
Component Qty: 1008 - Grand Total

The total component count of this head unit is approximately 1000 components, which incidentally is the average component count for smartphones and is similar in complexity in that respect. Most of the component count, however, comes from the Main PCB (886 count). Because of automated pick and place assembly techniques (SMT) - this is in fact quite 'simple' to produce.

Design Notes

The display is one of the most important choices in head unit design, as it is what dictates the customer experience. It is the interface. This unit features a ~7' (6.95') 262K color a-Si TFT display (800x480 pixels), but uses a very basic 4-wore resistive touch panel. Such touch panels are quickly becoming obsolete with the rise of capacitive touch - but for this application and market it is an inexpensive and mature solution.

The GSM Module is from SimCOM, a China-based module manufacturer - this SIM900A module is GSM/GPRS Module - Dual-Band GSM/GPRS 900/1800MHz, GPRS Class 10/8 & GPRS Mobile Station Class B. The design is based on an St Ericsson chipset (PNX490FL_2). This module is very simple (74 components) but is also only basic in it's wireless functionality. The core St Ericsson chip supports Tri-band functionality but the module is not designed to. This is common.

The functional core of the design is the Telechips TCC8901 digital multimedia processor which is an ARM1176JZF-S RISC Core processor. Other interesting IC content includes the Siano SMS1184 (CMMB Mobile TV - Single Chip, S-TiMi, UHF 470 to 862MHz), an Intersil TW8816xxx LCD Controller, and a U-Blox Ag UBX-G5010-ST Single-chip GPS solution.

Chevrolet Captiva C140 Head Unit - Disassembly View 1Chevrolet Captiva C140 Head Unit - Disassembly View 1

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