USA: The Automotive Electronics Service report, "LED Headlights: Styling Drives Growth, Control and Cost Challenges Remain", Strategy Analytics offers two scenarios for semiconductor LED (Light Emitting Diode) headlight adoption: Meeting demand from luxury brands and high end model segments for enhanced styling, some 12 percent of light vehicles by 2020 will feature LED headlights; however, should cost reduction strategies prove successful, deployment will enter the mass market and production penetration will increase to approximately 21 percent (24 million vehicles).
Challenges facing headlight designers' desire to use the styling flexibility offered by LED adoption include brightness levels from current LED chips, thermal issues, complexity of controlling LED headlights and their increased functionality, and ultimately, the higher assembly costs when compared to competing halogen- and xenon-based systems.
Players in the market are making use of platform designs in making LED headlights flexible to meet the differing demands of the various auto makers, in order to limit development costs. Some Tier 1 suppliers are implementing cost-down strategies by limiting the number of LED chips in the headlight design. Many designs use LEDs primarily for low beam, and use conventional halogen bulbs for the less frequently used high beam. The idea is to make LED headlights more affordable and thus widen their appeal and adoption on high volume mid and lower segment vehicles.
"As with many other electronic features," said Kevin Mak, analyst in the Automotive Electronics Service (AES) at Strategy Analytics, "intensifying competition among auto makers is forcing the growth of LED headlights. Innovative and attractive LED vehicle headlamp designs have captured consumer attention and are raising interest in feature enhancements, such as cornering lights and automatic high beam assistance. LEDs can offer these advantages, however they come at a cost."
"On the supply side, lighting vendors must find adaptable solutions in developing new LED headlight designs for more frequent model cycles and the more compact model segments," Mak also added. "At the same time, more complicated matrix headlight systems will enter the high-end market, posing even greater technical challenges for both module designers and semiconductor component suppliers."