DVN: Rainer, you are one of the most famous worldwide experts on automotive lighting. Could you explain us how you arrived at this position?
Rainer Neumann: I am now 25 years in automotive lighting.
Started at Bosch for 13 years, I have been in Italy for Magneti Marelli for 3 years and now 9 years with Visteon.
I have contributed to a lot of innovations in that time, which you can see today on the road. I have app. 120 patents, where I am the inventor/co-inventor of, and I have worked out some of them together with various car manufacturers (luxury as well as standard car levels) to end up in final series production.
I think the combination of being creative and also having the capability to make it really happen is very important.
DVN: Start with LED rear lamps. Visteon are producing LED rear lamps in many car models. Nevertheless, the LED rear lamps have a relatively low take rate. Do you think it is because the cost or because there is not enough differentiation with bulbs?
R.N.: Yes, Visteon produces for example the Mondeo rear lamp (stop/tail) as well as the Cadillac CTS rear lamps or the Mercedes M-class rear lamps with LED.
Cost was always an issue. Nevertheless one can see an increasing interest even with smaller vehicle segments (B-class) in LED rear lamps.
The reason is, that in the last two years cars have been launched showing an interesting differentiation effect with LED technology, which was noticed by the industry and (even more important) by the consumer. It looks attractive; it is technical and has value for the consumer.
Whereas in the past luxury vehicles like Maserati already showed LED applications (banana shape) this was not that much noticed as it was especially dedicated for luxury vehicles. Today, one can see B-class vehicles presenting a specific style with LED rear lamps. Therefore, I am very much convinced that this will lead to an enhancement of LED applications in the future. Creativity in designing something new, which will be recognized by the consumer, is our task.
DVN: If we consider the LED DRL, the differentiation with bulb is great with examples of Audi and Porsche and now Mercedes cars. How do you see the future of LED in the DRL functions considering style and energy consumption reduction?
R.N.: There is no better application for DRL than LED in demonstrating the advantages of this light source.
Styling, the power consumption, long life time, fuel consumption, and CO2 reduction is fully in line with the strategy of car manufacturers for the future. Due to the fact, that we do have already a couple of different solutions on the road with unique styling we have to be creative to generate further, attractive solutions.