Automotive MEMS grew 16% in 2011

February 1, 2012 — The market for automotive micro electro mechanical system (MEMS) sensors and actuators expanded after natural disasters in Japan and Thailand last year, with car electronic systems makers seeking to expand their supply chains to mitigate risk. Automotive MEMS revenue in 2011 amounted to $2.2 billion, up 16% from 2010, according to an IHS iSuppli MEMS & Sensors report.

Figure: Worldwide automotive MEMS revenue forecast. SOURCE: IHS iSuppli Research, January 2012.

  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Billions of US Dollars $1.9 $2.2 $2.4 $2.6 $2.9 $3.1

Automotive MEMS experienced 28% growth in 2010, accelerating out of the global recession alongside auto makers (25% growth that year). The growth rates for 2010 and 2011 are well above the 7-9% annual expansions in sensor sales see pre-recession. In 2012, expect 7% growth, owing to an inventory reduction late in the year. IHS expects inventory cuts to be offset by ramping car shipments and increasing safety mandates that put more MEMS in vehicles.

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Pressure sensors, accelerometers, gyroscopes, and flow sensors account for the majority of automotive MEMS revenue: 21 out of 24 identified applications for MEMS in the automotive space, and nearly 99% of the entire value of the automotive MEMS market.

After "suffering short supplies of parts" in 2009, automotive system makers expanded their components sources, said Richard Dixon, senior analyst for MEMS and sensors at IHS. This prepared the industry well for the earthquake in Japan (March 2011) and floods in Thailand (late 2011). In some instances these companies were able to re-qualify parts from new sources, helping MEMS sensor sales stay on track.

The automotive MEMS sensor market will expand more rapidly than originally expected over the next few years, achieving a 2010-2015 five-year compound annual growth rate of approximately 10% and $3 billion+ revenue by 2015. Government-mandated automotive safety measures — such as tire-pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) and electronic stability systems (ESC) — along with automotive expansion into new markets will push growth in the long-term.

October 2012 will see Japan adopt a mandate on ESC within its shores, similar to a timeline projected for Europe, where new models will be fitted with ESC to detect any discrepancy between the driver’s intention and the actual motion of the vehicle (ESC automatically intervenes to prevent dangerous skidding).

By 2014, all existing vehicles in Japan as well as new “mini” vehicles will be outfitted with ESC. The ESC mandate in Japan is expected to impact a total of 5 million vehicles in 2012, according to IHS Global Insight.

Learn more in the IHS iSuppli report, Another Good Year for Automotive MEMS Sensors.
IHS (NYSE: IHS) provides analysis on energy and power; design and supply chain; defense, risk and security; environmental, health and safety (EHS) and sustainability; country and industry forecasting; and commodities, pricing and cost. For more information, go to

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