The fact that Osram, Nichia and Lumileds are the three LED companies pioneering this technology is no coincidence; as these 3 companies dominate the market for LEDs supplied to the global car industry.
The experience of these companies in this sector, and the more challenging requirements for durability and brightness of LEDs in cars make it difficult for other suppliers to mount a challenge. While many other suppliers, such as Toshiba, Avago and Everlight, sell LEDs into this sector, they sell fewer.
The IMS Research report, “The Worldwide Market for LEDs in Automotive Applications”, estimates that Osram is the largest supplier with about 23% of the total market for LEDs in light vehicles in 2007, followed by Lumileds and Nichia, each with around 16%.
However, despite this, Lumileds and Nichia do not compete with each other to a large extent, as IMS analyst Jamie Fox explained: “Lumileds sell LEDs mainly for exterior applications while Nichia sell mainly for interior applications. There are also geographical differences in the supply chain, for example Nichia do not sell many LEDs for automotive applications in Europe, where Osram are strong In the next decade however, as the battleground moves from interior and rear lighting applications to the front of the vehicle, this seems set to change. Lumileds, Osram and Nichia all provide LEDs of high brightness and quality that are well suited to forward lighting applications.
With a potentially large market for LEDs in headlamps in the next decade, it will be interesting to see which of the big three, or even any of their other competitors, is able to sell their LEDs into the most headlamps in 2008 and 2009.