Global shipments of automotive full-colour liquid crystal displays (LCD) are set to nearly double by 2016, partly propelled by a U.S. mandate on rear-view cameras that will result in expanding use in both midrange and economy-class vehicles. Shipments of these automotive LCDs are projected to reach 116.8 million units by 2016, up 89 percent from 61.7 million units in 2012, according to an IHS iSuppli.
Each year during the forecast period will enjoy double-digit growth ranging from 15 to 23 percent, with shipments crossing the hundred-million-unit mark in 2015. The products are all full-colour thin-film-transistor liquid crystal displays, or TFT-LCDs.
“A major driver of growth in the automotive LCD market during the next few years is a U.S. government mandate requiring all cars to incorporate rear-view cameras by 2014,” said Vinita Jakhanwal, director for small and medium displays at IHS. “The mandate will result in an increase in displays used in cars. Most of these displays will find a place in the centre stack consoles of cars, causing center stack display market shipments to rise 21 percent year over year in 2014.”
Rear-view cameras enhance car safety by helping extend the driver’s field of vision. This can prevent drivers from striking objects and pedestrians when backing up.
The mandate is mainly expected to affect the economy vehicle segment, which currently doesn’t employ in-car TFT-LCD displays to a very large degree. Here, 3.x-inch displays with their lower average selling cost are expected to be the choice in economy vehicles over larger-sized displays. Larger rear-view camera displays sized 6.x- to 8.x-inch more likely will be found in midrange cars.
Compared to other display applications, the automotive display market is highly customised, 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 customisation in their automotive display products, and also are capable of accommodating sundry technical requests from car makers and automotive display system integrators.
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 believes.