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Sheer numbers reveal an exploding market for thin-film transistor liquid-crystal displays (TFT-LCDs) geared toward the automotive industry. According to the NPD DisplaySearch 2012 Automotive Displays Report, shipments for these devices jumped 16% to 49 million in 2012. And there’s no slowdown in sight—projections show an increase to 70 million by 2016 (Fig. 1). Commuters spend up to three hours in their cars every day, thus fostering the seemingly insatiable desire for these displays found in systems ranging from navigation to rear-seat DVD players.Shipments and Forecast for Automotive TFT LCD (2007-2016)
“Consumer demand is driving the production of smarter and more efficient automobiles, requiring automotive displays that increase functionality and safety,” says Hiroshi Hayase, NPD DisplaySearch vice president of small/medium displays. “Features such as navigation, audio and air-conditioning control, rearview mirrors and eco-driving displays provide safety, energy information and other conveniences while on the road.”
Greater production of hybrid and electric vehicles has propelled the surge in automotive displays. Another major factor is demand for replacements of older single-function displays, which use passive-matrix LCDs.
Japan remains the global leader in automotive TFT-LCD panel production, particularly in high-grade automobiles. Japan Display became the top automotive TFT-LCD maker in 2012, followed by Sharp and LG Display (Fig. 2). Car-navigation set makers, such as Panasonic, Alpine and Pioneer, drove TFT-LCD panel demand in Japan.Shipment Share Forecast for Automotive TFT-LCD Makers (2012)
The United States and Europe have made headway in TFT-LCD panel production for mid-grade and small-size vehicles. Demand from set makers in these regions was driven by cluster component makers, including Continental AG, BP/Bosch, Ford and Johnson Controls.
“Interestingly, we’ve noticed that automotive-display demand in Japan favors car-navigation systems, while demand for TFT-LCD panels for automobiles in the United States and Europe favors in-console displays,” says Hayase. “Regardless of the type of automotive display technology, we are seeing trends toward more cars incorporating this technology, so we anticipate continued growth in this segment.”
NPD DisplaySearch’s Automotive Displays Report analyzes all flat-panel display shipments related to the automotive industry. For more information on the report, visit www.displaysearch.com.