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World Automotive Sensor Demand To Reach $14 Billion in 2010

May 2, 2006

New sensing technologies exhibit strong growth prospects while well-established products face flat or declining prospects.

Global demand for light-vehicle original equipment manufacturer (OEM) automotive sensors is projected to advance 7.4% annually to $14 billion in 2010, more rapidly than vehicle production itself. Sensor demand grows hand in hand with electronics demand, which itself has exceeded overall light-vehicle-production expansion significantly during the past decade. Although some electronics systems are maturing in developed countries, sensor applications are expected to grow as these technologies continue to be applied in safety and security, drivetrain, and emission-control applications. Growth in emerging markets is being driven by the introduction of electronic systems designed to improve safety, efficiency, and emissions control. These and other trends are presented in World Automotive Sensors, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm.

The automotive OEM sensor industry in developed markets, such as North America, Europe, and Japan, is a study in contrasts, with new sensing technologies exhibiting strong growth prospects while well-established products face flat or declining prospects. Emerging markets typically have more basic sensor needs, as they continue to embrace technologies focused on safety, drivetrain systems, and emissions systems. Many of these applications require sensor technologies that have already been perfected in developed markets, and OEMs often select commoditized sensor technologies for use in emerging markets to better control costs. In either case, sensor suppliers face a continuing mandate to deliver more capability at lower cost. Given the current state of the OEM auto industry, this dictate is unlikely to change anytime soon.

Engine and drivetrain applications represent the largest, most well-established category in sensor use, although future growth will be significantly slower than in other areas of the vehicle platform. New sensor applications focused on improved fuel efficiency represent a bright spot in this category, as OEMs worldwide react to rising fuel prices. Safety and security applications promise the greatest growth potential for OEM automotive sensors, propelled by new products that are either mandated by regulations or market driven. Key areas of growth include tire pressure sensors in the U.S., pedestrian warning systems in Europe, and airbags and automatic seatbelts in many emerging markets. Emissions control–related sensor demand has been healthy in recent years, and future growth prospects remain good. A large portion of the value in this category resides in oxygen sensors, which continue be used in greater quantities on a per-vehicle basis and are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

World Automotive Sensors (published 04/2006, 351 pages) is available for $5,200 from The Freedonia Group, Inc., 767 Beta Drive, Cleveland, OH 44143-2326. For further details, please contact Corinne Gangloff by phone at 440-684-9600, fax 440-646-0484, or e-mail pr@freedoniagroup.com. Information may also be obtained through the company's Web site.

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