Renesas remained the leader in the automotive semiconductor race in 2013, with the company’s dominance in microcomponents and logic integrated circuits (IC) helping it to hold a half-billion-dollar gap over the second-place competitor.
Japan-based Renesas posted automotive semiconductor revenue of $2.9 billion last year, giving the company a market share of 11 percent, according to IHS Technology (NYSE: IHS). This compares to $2.4 billion in revenue and 9 percent share for the No. 2 contender, Infineon of Germany, allowing Renesas to maintain the leading position it held in 2012.
Although the IHS ranking shows Renesas experienced a 14 percent decline in revenue for the year, the drop was entirely driven by a fluctuation in the exchange rate between the Japanese yen and the U.S. dollar. When measured in terms of its native yen, Renesas’ automotive semiconductor revenue actually rose by about 5 percent in 2013 compared to 2012.
“Renesas has built hegemony in automotive semiconductors based on its leadership position in major product categories within the market,” said Luca DeAmbroggi, principal analyst for automotive semiconductors at IHS. “The company in 2012 was the top supplier in the microcomponent and logic ICs categories with market share of 37 percent and 13 percent, respectively. Renesas is also ahead of the pack in the automotive infotainment domain with a market share of 11 percent.”
The company’s domination in the microcomponent area is attributed to its massive share of the key automotive microcontroller business. Renesas accounted for 40 percent of the automotive microcontroller business in 2013, far ahead of No. 2 Freescale Semiconductor at 22 percent.
Driving to growth
Renesas led the field in an overall automotive semiconductor market that expanded by a healthy 5 percent in 2013. Market revenue last year rose to $26.7 billion in 2013, up from $25.4 billion in 2012.
Infineon and beyond
Infineon maintained the No. 2 position on the strength of its leadership in the powertrain semiconductor segment. The company held a 15 percent share in the area thanks to its broad portfolio of powertrain chips, ranging from analog power management ICs to discrete semiconductors, through microcontrollers as well as magnetic and pressure sensors.
Infineon in 2013 was the second-largest supplier of semiconductors used in the domains for chassis and safety, and for body and convenience— just behind the leader in these two segments.
The No. 3 supplier, European firm STMicroelectronics, commanded revenue of $1.98 billion, giving it a share of 7.4 percent. The company led the automotive analog IC category with a share of 15.9 percent. This segment is highly diverse, with devices used in all automotive applications, including chassis and safety, powertrain, infotainment, and body and convenience electronics.
High-performance car-chip makers
Texas Instruments, Robert Bosch and NXP Semiconductors stood out for their strong performances in 2013.
No. 7 Texas Instruments posted the largest percentage increase in revenue among the top 10 suppliers in 2013. The U.S. supplier’s automotive semiconductor rose a robust 21 percent, primarily because of its robust business in embedded processors.
Robert Bosch in sixth place attained the second-best growth among the top players, with revenue rising by 19 percent. The company was the undisputed leading supplier for automotive sensors and also was No. 1 in the chassis and safety semiconductor domain.
Fifth-ranked NXP posted the third-best expansion, with a 15 percent increase. While most of the growth came from chassis and safety, body and convenience, and powertrain, infotainment remains NXP’s top domain with 41 percent of its revenue in 2013.
The 2013 rankings of the top 10 automotive semiconductor suppliers remained in exactly the same order as in 2012.
“The strong hold of the top 10 suppliers comes from their decades of investment to meet the specific requirements of automotive tier 1 and original equipment manufacturers for product quality and service support,” said Ahad Buksh, IHS analyst for automotive semiconductors. “IHS believes that because of this, automotive manufacturers will tend to maintain long-term relationships with such established semiconductor suppliers.”