A new report from IHS Technology places Bosch of Germany as the No. 1 supplier last year in automotive micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) sensors.
According to the report MEMS Market Tracker – Automotive – H1 2014, Bosch’s revenue of $740 million amounted to more than three times the sales of its nearest competitor, Denso of Japan, which remained in second place, as in 2012. Together the Top 10 accounted for $2.18 billion worth of revenue, equivalent to 88 percent of the industry total of $2.47 billion. This was a repeat performance by the Top 10 from 2012 when they again had an 88 percent share with combined revenue of $2.12 billion, out of an industry aggregate of $2.40 billion.
According to Richard Dixon, Ph.D., principal analyst for MEMS and sensors at IHS, the tighter competition among Bosch’s rivals was due to Denso and Panasonic declining in dollar terms, while others such as Sensata, Analog Devices and Infineon who were not facing this pressure took advantage of the situation to close the gap.
The decline in revenue by Denso and fellow Japanese maker Panasonic is directly attributed to the 22 percent drop in the value of the yen in 2013. Japanese-based auto MEMS suppliers not in the top 10, such as Epson Toyocom and Fuji Electric were also similarly impacted.
While shipments continued to climb in 2013 across the industry, growing 13 percent, up from 11 percent in 2012, revenue growth was much slower at 3 percent, pulled down by price erosion for components in safety applications such as electronic stability control (ESC) and tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS). Price erosion was particularly pronounced for multisensors used in ESC and now for roll-detection systems, contributing to slower revenue growth.
Highlights of the MEMS Market Tracker – Automotive – H1 2014
Bosch’s revenue was up 13.3 percent from $653 million in 2012 with the company benefitting from its strong captive market via its internal Tier 1 customer in addition to its success in promoting its inertial sensors through merchant channels, such as to a major Tier 1 and U.S. original equipment manufacturer.
Bosch has a well-balanced portfolio and a strong position in safety applications that exploit MEMS sensors, in addition to automotive powertrain applications. It is also the top supplier of accelerometers, gyroscopes, pressure sensors and flow sensors for cars.
Denso and Panasonic at No. 2 and No. 7 in the Top 10 list respectively, actually experienced stable growth based on shipment numbers last year in spite of declining revenues.
The top supplier of MEMS for heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, Denso also leads in continuous variable transmission systems while Panasonic derives most of its sales from the automotive gyroscope business.
Denso’s revenue fell 21.3 percent from $296 million to $233 million; Panasonic also fell 21.3 percent from $211 million to $166 million. Denso stayed in second place, but Panasonic fell four spots last year from No. 3 in 2012.
Global multinational supplier Sensata Technologies based in Massachusetts rose two places to No. 3 and also placed second in pressure sensors after Bosch. Also manufacturing ceramic pressure and polymer-based humidity sensors, the company is currently the world’s only commercial supplier of a MEMS cylinder pressure sensor, used by Volkswagen and Daimler diesels. Sensata grew 8.5 percent in revenue to $217 million, up from $200 million.
Up one place each were Texas-based Freescale Semiconductor in fourth place; Analog Devices Inc. of Massachusetts at No. 5; and Infineon Technologies of Germany in the sixth spot.
Freescale’s success came through a solid performance in staples such as accelerometers, along with shipments of side airbags to the North American market. Freescale revenue in 2013 rose 7.5 percent to $214 million, up from $199 million.
A large part of Analog Devices auto MEMS activity comes from airbag accelerometers, with overall revenue growing 8.5 percent to $191 million, up from $176 million.
Infineon, the leading player in TPMS saw its revenue climb 15 percent to $174 million, up from $151 million.
Among the rest in the Top 10 list, Murata from Japan, Delphi from Michigan and Massachusetts-based GE Sensing occupied the eighth, ninth, and 10th positions respectively.
Strong in accelerometers for ESC, Murata is increasingly seeing its combo accelerometer-and-gyroscope sensor growing in volume. Murata’s revenue rose 7.9 percent to $137 million, up from $127 million.
Delphi success continued in airbags, even though revenue declined 1.6 percent to $62 million, down from $63 million.
GE Sensing had significant business in TPMS, growing its shipments by 38 percent. Revenue last year was $49 million, up 22.5 percent from $40 million.