Semiconductor content in vehicles on the rise

July 24, 2012 — The automotive IC market will grow 8% this year, to $19.6 billion, reports IC Insights. Semiconductor content per vehicle is increasing to $380 in 2012, up 9% from 2011.

The 2008 automotive downturn initiated a structural change in the auto industry, with makers now offering user friendly, technological advanced, and more affordable vehicles, IC Insights notes. Automakers also are shifting more production towards electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), due in part to the “green” movement and to high gasoline prices in the US.

IC Insights forecasts the automotive IC market will grow to $27.3 billion in 2015, which represents average annual growth of 11% from 2011-2015 (see the figure).

Figure. 2009-2015 automotive IC market forecast. SOURCE: IC Insights, July 2012.

Semiconductor content per vehicle is expected to increase 11% annually between 2009 and 2015, reaching $495 per vehicle at the end of the forecast period, which suggests that the “trickle-down effect” of technology into lower-priced cars will happen at a faster rate than was expected a few years ago. This also suggests that more HEVs and EVs will be sold; these cars use more semiconductors than a typical gas-powered vehicle. HEVs and EVs currently account for <2% of total new vehicle shipments. IC Insights forecasts that in 2015, full electric vehicles will contain about twice as much semiconductor content as a standard car.

Additional details and a revised forecast for the automotive, cellphone, PC, wireless networking, and digital television markets can be found in IC Insights’ Update to its 2012 IC Market Drivers Report–A Study of Emerging and Major End-Use Applications Fueling Demand for Integrated Circuits.  The report examines many of the leading system applications for ICs and evaluates the potential growth for new applications that are expected to fuel the market for ICs through 2015. To review additional information, visit

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