Automotive Semiconductors Boost MCU, Analog Markets

While automotive semiconductor sales are experiencing a slowdown, the segment promises long-term growth.


Auto sales are expected to experience a slowdown in 2019, and even with the continued increase in electronics per vehicle, automotive semiconductor sales are also expected to experience a slowdown. Similar to prior years, 2019/2020 car models will include more automotive semiconductor devices to provide higher degrees of safety, comfort and convenience, driver assist capabilities, in-cabin entertainment and connectivity, as well as body electronics including configurable instrumentation. However, we do see ASPs declining, which is dampening revenue expectations.

Following is a review of two automotive components.

Automotive MCUs
In 2018, Automotive MCU totaled $6.7 billion with 3.3 billion units for an annual ASP of $2.02. Automotive MCU revenues averaged $1.68 billion per quarter during 2018; however, first quarter 2019 automotive MCU revenues fell to $1.4 billion. Year-over-year, Automotive MCUs fell 15.2% in dollars and 17% in units.

This sharp drop is a reflection of an inventory burn as much of the industry had built up excess inventory in the later part of 2018. While units declined in this category from 815 million to 676 million in first quarter on a year-over-year basis, the ASP rose from $2.04 to $2.09.

Automotive MCU sales data is now available by bit size, 8-, 16- and 32-bit. The chart below shows dollars and units by bit size for Q1 2019 and Semico’s estimate for Q2 2019. Both 8- and 32-bit are expected to see an increase in dollars and units in Q2 over Q1. Unfortunately, the large drop in the first quarter was such a steep decline that even with improvements in the second half of 2019 annual revenues for Automotive MCUs will decline by 13.3% and units will decline 15.4%.

The automotive market is very important to the total MCU market revenues. Year-to-date, Automotive MCU represented 38.7% of MCU dollars but only 11.6% of MCU units. The average ASP of total MCU so far this year is $0.062 compared to the Automotive MCU ASP of $2.07.

Automotive analog
Automotive is important to the Analog market as well. Year-to-date for 2019 Automotive Analog ICs are 17.7% of Analog revenues and 10.2% of units.

Q1 2019 revenues totaled $2.37 billion compared to $2.39 billion in fourth quarter 2018, down 0.8%. Units were down only -0.4%. First quarter year-over-year dollars were flat, while units were up 5.1% as the ASP fell from $0.63 to $0.59. Second quarter is on track to see a revenue growth of 5.9% to $2.5 billion and units will increase 6.9% to 4.2 billion as shown in the graph below.

At a recent ON Semiconductor analyst meeting, the company shared some interesting facts related to their participation in automotive electronics.

  • Electric vehicles have up to $500 in power semiconductor content.
  • Power semiconductors in vehicles will grow at a CAGR of 42% between 2017-2022.
  • LED lighting will have a CAGR of 24%.

Semiconductor content in driver assist systems will more than triple when comparing a Level 2 EV system to a Level 4 EV system as shown in the chart below.

Driver assist is not possible without sensors. A Level 4 system will have up to 40 sensors. The functionality of these sensors is described in the figure below.

The industry may be going through a short-term slowdown, but the longer-term outlook for automotive semiconductors is projected to outpace the overall industry and still provides one of the best segments for future growth.

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