Hurt by slowing demand in the automotive industry and exchange rate fluctuations, the automotive semiconductor market only grew 0.2 percent in 2015, reaching $29 billion, according to IHS. Despite the challenges, there were a flurry of mergers and acquisitions last year, which caused a shift in the automotive semiconductor rankings.
One of the biggest was the merger of NXP and Freescale. This created the largest automotive semiconductor supplier in 2015 with a market share of 14.3 percent, according to IHS. Another big shift in competition was the result of the acquisition of International Rectifier (IR), which helped Infineon jump to the second-ranked position – with a market share of 9.8 percent - ahead of Renesas, which dropped to number three, with a market share of 9.1 percent. Rounding out the top five are STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments.
The consolidation also helped Osram join the top 10 ranking of automotive suppliers for the first time in 2015. Osram is said to be the global leader in automotive lighting, recording double-digit growth over the past three years, thanks to growing adoption of LEDs in new vehicles, said IHS.
The lighting market for automotive applications is expected to grow at a 23.7 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2015 to 2021, reaching $27.7 billion in 2021, according to the latest LED report from Yole Développement (Yole). The market grew 5.4 percent in 2015, reaching $22.4 billion. Yole analysts attribute the growth to increased lighting system content per vehicle and strong adoption of LED-based lighting systems. Some of the biggest growth drivers include new functionalities for ambient light, rear light, turn signal, parking & day running lights, fog light, low/high beam light.
But the merger that had the biggest impact in the automotive IC market was NXP’s acquisition of Freescale. “The acquisition of Freescale by NXP created a powerhouse for the automotive market. NXP increased its strength in automotive infotainment systems, thanks to the robust double-digit growth of its i.MX processors,” said Ahad Buksh, automotive semiconductor analyst for IHS Technology, in a statement. “NXP’s analog integrated circuits also grew by double digits, thanks to the increased penetration rate of keyless-entry systems and in-vehicle networking technologies.”
Next up for NXP is targeting machine vision and sensor fusion markets with the S32V family of processors for autonomous functions, according to the IHS Automotive Semiconductor Intelligence Service. “The fusion of magnetic sensors from NXP, with pressure and inertial sensors from Freescale, has created a significant sensor supplier,” Buksh said.
For Infineon, the addition of IR, along with a strong presence in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), hybrid electric vehicles and other growing applications, helped the company grow 5.5 percent in 2015, said IHS. Two products beefing up Infineon’s automotive position include the 77 gigahertz (GHz) radar system integrated circuit (RASIC) chip family for ADAS, and 32-bit microcontrollers, based on TriCore architectures, for powertrain and chassis and safety applications.
The global ADAS market is expected to be valued at $11 billion by the end of 2016, reaching $132 billion by 2026, according to ABI Research. This translates into a CAGR of almost 29 percent.
Other key changes to the ranking include Qualcomm’s move from number 42 in 2014 to number 20 in 2015 thanks in part to its acquisition of CSR. “Qualcomm has a strong presence in cellular baseband solutions, with its Snapdragon and Gobi processors; while CSR’s strength lies in wireless application ICs -- especially for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Qualcomm is now the sixth largest supplier of semiconductors in the infotainment domain,” said IHS.
Another big shift is nVidia’s rise in the rankings from number 83 in 2011 to number 37 in 2015. IHS attributes the rise to nVidia’s experience and strategic partnership with Audi. nVidia’s focus on infotainment “was a logical stepping stone to carve out a position in the automotive market, but now the company is also moving toward ADAS and other safety applications,” said IHS.