Many lighting engineers agree that LEDs are particularly well suited to front signal service in North America, because five functions — position/parking lamp, front sidemarker lamp, front turn signal, side turn signal repeater, and daytime running lamp — can easily and economically be produced by a single low-power, high-performance, life-of-the-car device producing amber light at two intensity levels. While such multifunction front LED modules have not yet been commercialised in significant numbers, the 2008 Kia Amanti incorporates a low-power, high-intensity LED front turn signal.
LEDs are making faster inroads at the back of the car; 34% of the surveyed vehicles have LED brake and tail lamps. Nevertheless, the ordinary equipment — standard clear filament bulbs with a red cover lens — is still 66% predominant. A style development of the traditional equipment has been introduced by Saab, whose 9-3 models feature red bulbs with clear cover lenses. Previous clear-lens brake & tail lamp designs, such as those on the 2004 Toyota Prius — and the first such design on the 1965 Chrysler New Yorker — required expensive, unstylish red bulb caps built into the lamp assembly between the clear bulbs and the clear cover lenses. The red bulbs recently achieved approval in European ECE regulation 37 governing the filament bulbs permitted for use on roadgoing vehicles, and are presently being manufactured by Philips and Osram. A Saab spokesman explains “We don’t have to have ECE-approved bulbs in North America, but we communize our lighting equipment in all markets as much as possible, so we waited until we could introduce these new lights worldwide.”