Brian.oco 0 Posting Whiz

Two new studies out today on the burgeoning automotive sensor marketplace.

First up is BCC research (full disclosure, I have written for BCC Research, but not on automotive sensors).

According to BCC’s latest technical market research report, Automotive Sensor Technologies: Global Market, the global market for automotive sensors is expected to be worth $8 billion in 2007. That number should rise to over $13.5 billion by 2012, a compound average annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.8%, says BCC.

In the report, BCC breaks the market down into applications of power train, chassis and body sensors. Of these, power train sensors have the largest share of the market. Valued at nearly $4.7 billion in 2007, this segment is expected to be worth $7.7 billion by 2012, a CAGR of 10.5%.

The second largest segment, chassis sensors, was worth an estimated $2.1 billion in 2007 and will reach $3.5 billion by 2012. The body sensors segment is currently worth $1.3 billion but will be worth $2.2 billion in 2012, for a CAGR of 11.7%.

According to BCC, the role of automotive sensors has grown from being small incidental add-on components some 20 years ago to being one of the major considerations of automotive design. Today cars, trucks, minivans, and sport utility vehicles incorporate a high level of sensor technology to meet the consumer’s need for safety, environmental compliance, comfort, communications, and even entertainment.

“Automotive engineers are increasingly finding innovative ways to produce ever more sophisticated and autonomous machines using automotive sensors,” says BCC. “The future promises a dazzling array of sensor technology that can be used to manage driver commutes, help avoid accidents, and even conduct body scans to put people in the most comfortable driving position.

Another study on auto sensors from the technology consulting firm Strategy Analytics estimates that the market for automotive sensors will reach $11.2 billion in 2007, a year-on-year growth of 10.7 percent – pretty darn close to the BCC number.

The study entitled "Automotive Sensor Demand Forecast 2004 to 2013" showed that planned vehicle safety, performance and feature enhancements will drive the demand for automotive sensor shipments to over 3.4 billion units worth $17.1 billion.

According to the study, light vehicle production is expected to record a CAGR of 3.6 percent from the years 2005 to 2010. Over the same period, the firm expects automotive sensor revenues to register CAGR of 9.8 percent, as carmakers respond to tightening environmental, fuel mileage and safety legislation as well as consumer expectations, by introducing electronically controlled innovations for enhanced performance, comfort and convenience.

"Vehicle makers are using sophisticated electronic systems to create safer, more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles, creating demand for a higher number of sensors per vehicle," says Mark Fitzgerald, senior analyst, Automotive Practice.

I’ll keep an eye out on any particular market plays on companies that are grabbing some of the auto sensor market share. With car sales down, I have my doubts . . . but if the cars that are being sold are loading up on sensor technologies, I’ll be more than happy to stand corrected.