Hella sees growing demand for rear LED automotive lighting
Automotive lighting systems supplier Hella sees growing demand throughout the Americas for rear LED vehicle lighting.
Ignacio Moreno, CEO of Hella Lighting – Americas and president of Hella Corporate Center Mexico, says rear LED lighting offers customers safety features, energy-savings and styling advantages. He notes that conventional tail lamps take longer to fully illuminate. Because LEDs reach peak performance in milliseconds, they can help motorists avoid rear-end collisions. By allowing drivers more time to react, studies have shown that LED lighting translates into seven to 10 feet in braking distance — distance that counts in emergency situations.
There’s also little or no risk of driving with burnt-out rear tail lamps with LED technology. LEDs last for the life of a car, while conventional bulbs typically burn out after 800-1,000 hours of use. Matched against conventional or upgraded HID lamps, LED rear and front lighting systems provide energy savings ranging from 65 up to 80 percent as well.
Automakers are focusing more and more attention on rear-end styling, where LEDs also offer clear advantages over incandescent bulbs. LED rear lamps today are standard on most European luxury cars. On smaller, less expensive car lines LED treatments are offered in option packages to help distinguish a car line’s sport, luxury or special-edition models.
“Customer demand for LED lighting has been much higher in technology-driven Europe than in the U.S., but we are seeing a growing interest in the Americas as well, especially in rear lighting,” says Steffen Pietzonka, vice president of marketing for Hella Lighting. “Today the number of LED solutions here is limited, but we expect to see significant growth within the next five years.”
Moreno predicts that LED rear-lighting sales in the NAFTA region will grow at a compounded annual rate of between six and nine percent.
“Virtually every new mid-size and above new-vehicle program planned for 2013 and beyond will offer LED rear-end lighting,” he says. “Some automakers even are planning rear LED lighting for entry-level cars.”
Hella has developed new applications of LED technology to provide car makers with a variety of new rear styling options, including light-curtain, edge-light and glowing-body technologies. By illuminating specific shapes, these technologies contribute to the creation of brand-typical designs.
“LED lighting is changing the way auto makers approach rear styling, helping to create additional brand awareness and offering a variety of new rear-end design options,” Pietzonka adds. “Compared with conventional bulb technology, more sophisticated LED systems allow stylists to create a variety of other shapes and features.”
On a global basis, Hella currently supplies LED rear lighting for more than 20 models, including vehicles from Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Ford, Lincoln and Volkswagen. The company develops and manufactures LED headlamps, as well as interior LED lighting systems.
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