iSuppli sees booming telematics market in Western Europe

November 11, 2009  by  

Sales of automotive telematics systems in Western Europe are set to rise by a factor of five during the period from 2008 to 2016 as carmakers offer more telematics-equipped models in the region, according to iSuppli Corp. Western European telematics sales are expected to reach 24.8 million systems by 2016, expanding at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 22.5% from 4.9 million systems in 2008.

“Automotive telematics is defined as the integrated use of telecommunications and informatics, allowing the sending and receiving of information,” said Anna Buettner, analyst for automotive electronics at iSuppli. “Telematics can provide a range of benefits to motorists, from notifying an emergency operator when a car’s airbags have been deployed, to reporting vehicle conditions to a remote monitoring center.”

Two major types of telematics solutions are being offered on the market: embedded systems, whose functionality is integrated into the headunit of cars; and mobile-device oriented systems, which use a wireless product like a cell phone to communicate information.

“iSuppli believes that embedded and mobile-device-based telematics systems will continue to coexist in the car market in Western Europe and elsewhere,” Buettner said. “Embedded solutions are suitable for high-end luxury models, while mobile-device-oriented systems can bring telematics services to high-volume, entry-level cars. Regardless of which approach is used, pipes used for communications and delivery of content will become increasingly transparent and will be modified to cater to a vast array of data types.”

Import efforts

GM’s main auto sales in Europe are through the Opel brand, which is sold as Vauxhall in the United Kingdom. The company also owns the smaller Saab, Cadillac and Chevrolet brands. GM’s telematics sales in Western Europe are projected to grow to more than 1.4 million units in 2016, rising at a CAGR of more than 41% from 210,000 million in 2008. GM currently offers only mobile-device-based telematics systems.

Ford is expected to introduce the Sync system in Europe in 2011. This should increase its mobile-device telematics system shipments in the region to more than 1.7 million systems in 2016, rising at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 31% from 190,000 in 2008.

The Japanese brands are not as strong in Europe as they are in North America, so their telematics sales will be much lower in the region. Toyota, which maintains the largest auto sales among the Japanese brands in Western Europe, will have the highest telematics sales there—growing to 990,000 units in 2016, up at a CAGR of 31% from 110,000 in 2008. The Japanese leader most likely will bring an embedded solution to the market in the near future.

Domestic telematics

The Top-6 European auto manufacturers collectively control about 64% of the Western European auto market. PSA now has the highest telematics sales in Europe due to its use of both embedded and mobile-device systems. Company sales are forecasted to grow to 3.1 million systems in 2016, up from nearly 620,000 in 2008. Embedded systems accounted for 42% of PSA’s 2008 telematics sales.

VW’s telematics sales are projected to grow to nearly 3.2 million units in 2016, increasing at a CAGR of more than 26% from 490,000 systems in 2008. While the company’s four brands currently use only mobile device telematics systems, the German OEM is expected to introduce an embedded telematics system in the future.

Fiat’s three brands will sell 2.3 million units in 2016, up at a CAGR of 27% from 340,000 in 2008. Embedded systems accounted for about 20% of Fiat’s telematics sales in 2008. Renault has been slow to adopt telematics and has just recently added mobile device systems. Renault’s telematics sales are projected to grow to 1.6 million units in 2016, rising at a CAGR of 30% from 190,000 in 2008.

The two main luxury brands in Europe, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, already sell a high percentage of their autos with telematics systems. BMW uses both embedded and mobile device telematics systems. Company telematics sales will rise to more than 1.3 million units in 2016, up at a CAGR of 16% from 390,000 in 2008.

Mercedes-Benz currently sells only mobile-device telematics systems. Sales of Mercedes-Benz telematics systems are forecasted to grow to 1.4 million systems in 2016, expanding at a CAGR of almost 20% from 320,000 in 2008. Similar to Toyota/Lexus and Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz also is expected to introduce an embedded telematics solution for its future offerings.

Click here to learn more about iSuppli’s Automotive Research Service.

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