Acquisitions jumble up auto semiconductor rankings

June 22, 2016 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Last year’s acquisitions caused several shifts in the market for automotive semiconductors. After the merger with Freescale, NXP now outdistances Infineon by far – though the latter also improved its strength by taking over International Rectifier (IR). The total automotive semiconductor market almost stagnated amidst slowing growth in the global automotive industry.

The latest figures from market research company value the global market for automotive semiconductors in 2015 at $29 billion, up a mere 0.2 % from the year before. The much discussed acquisition of Freescale through NXP, already before the before the merger each one a heavyweight in this market, catapulted NXP to the pole position with combined sales of $4.2 billion. Before the merger, NXP had a market share of 6.4%; through the takeover the share climbed to 14.4%. With sales growth of 125%, it can be expected that this share has still some upside potential. “The acquisition of Freescale by NXP created a powerhouse for the automotive market”, commented Ahad Buksh, automotive semiconductor analyst for IHS Technology. “NXP increased its strength in automotive infotainment systems, thanks to the robust double-digit growth of its i.MX processors. The company’s analog integrated circuits also grew by double digits, thanks to the increased penetration rate of keyless-entry systems and in-vehicle networking technologies.”

For the time ahead, NXP will target the markets for machine vision and sensor fusion – both at least as promising as the ancestral markets of radar, engine control and communication systems.

Infineon, always a candidate for the number one position in the automotive semiconductor market, could secure the second place through the takeover of International Rectifier (IR). With IR on board, Infineon has an even stronger position than before in power electronics. But the Bavarians also hold a significant share of the chips for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and radar sensors. The company’s TriCore 32-bit microprocessors also reinforced Infineon’s position in the powertrain and chassis and safety domains.