Egged on by factors such as strong consumer demand for enhanced safety features, the need for compliance with emission regulations, and original equipment manufacturers' (OEMs) commitment to introduce novel products, the automotive electronic control units (ECUs) market in India is witnessing steady growth.
Comfort and convenience top the agenda for customers, triggering growth especially in the body control and steering systems segment. Emission norms and safety regulations will further drive the uptake of ECUs.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Automotive Electronic Control Units Market in India, finds that the OEM market in India, which stood at 2.5 million units in 2007, is expected to see a rise of 23.8 per cent annually.
"Government regulations aimed at making the vehicle fleet safer and more environment friendly will increase the number of ECUs installed on mid-level to economy level vehicles in India," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst. "Introduction of BS IV in passenger and utility vehicles and BS III in commercial vehicles is also likely to boost demand for ECUs after 2010."
The availability of better highways and intra-city roads has facilitated quick access to destinations and customers are more inclined to owning fast yet safe cars. Fierce competition characterizes the market and manufacturers are focused on product differentiation to gain one-upmanship.
With regard to the passenger cars and utility vehicles, the market will grow threefold in the near future; newer models will be launched, offering higher technology content, thereby driving the demand for ECUs. Increased safety awareness among consumers is fueling the demand for anti-lock breaking systems (ABS) and airbags, while demand for convenience features are driving uptake of body control systems. The engine management system holds a major share in the ECU market, making huge inroads in the passenger vehicle segment. Automatic transmission and climate control are still in the fledgling stage and indications point to a market growth of 30.0 per cent more by 2012.
"In light of the sheer number of new electronic systems incorporated into vehicles, continuous restructuring of the R&D of supplier companies is necessitated," explains the Analyst. "Electronic systems suppliers are required to keep pace with the technological advancements and roll out smaller, lighter, and more intelligent systems to stay on top of the competition."
However, trends indicate that automakers prefer to limit the number of key suppliers, opting for suppliers that offer unparalleled products and services. Sourcing electronic components from a supplier that can offer a wider range of expertise and products is far easier and less costly.
As electronics contracts are worth millions of dollars, suppliers cannot afford to underestimate these criteria. ECU volumes supplied to OEMs tend to be large. By employing cost-cutting strategies, suppliers are targeting contracts on smaller margins as OEMs continually demand lower prices. Along with price, quality, delivery, and service are prerequisites for manufacturers to successfully garner contracts.
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