The Geneva International Motor Show is currently underway, and while this show doesn't usually hit the tech front page news, there are some good reasons why it should. Of course there are all of the flashy and very sleek sports cars, vision cars, and the like. This year, there is also a considerable showing of hybrid and electric vehicles, with Nissan's Leaf one of three remaining finalists for the coveted 2011 World Car of the Year title (see this press release from PR Newswire).
Automotive semis have been an important growth driver for a few years now, particularly since the use of sensors to meet mandatory safety regulations. But MEMS is not the only auto semi story (see this EETimes story on MEMS record sales of 662.3mn units in 2010). The rapidly expanding auto infotainment sector has driven sales and the percent of semi content in vehicles into new territory. Taken together, these strong base drivers plus the added technology requirements of hybrid and electric vehicles, plus volume demand from the booming, global middle class, and the resulting automotive IC market forecast is strong, very strong (see this report from IC Insights).
How does growth in the automotive IC sector compare to other semi sectors? It's impressive. If you weren't gawking at sleek new concepts (see this NYT.com slide show), you just might be now:
"Through 2014, the automotive IC market is forecast to grow to $20.9 billion, representing an average annual increase of 14.5% per year from 2009 to 2014. That growth rate tops the IC growth rate in all other system markets including computer (11.7%), communications (8.1%), and consumer (10.6%) systems, and the total worldwide IC market (10.6%) over the same timeperiod [sic]." (see the IC Insights reportfor more details)