Samsung Could Re-enter Car Market

By Tom Allen
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Data compiled by Thomson Reuters IP & Science shows that Samsung is making a concerted, if late, push into the automotive market.

Samsung produced its own cars as Samsung Motors until 2000, when it sold 70% of the business to RenaultBased on patent filings between 2010 and 2013 (the limit of patent visibility), Reuters has found that Samsung and its affiliates are ramping up research and development in automotive technology.

Filings include a detection system for driver drowsiness and a transparent display for directions and traffic information.

Samsung Display has also cited the auto industry as a potential growth area; the company is testing its OLED displays with BMW and Continental, Reuters reported in February (Display Makers Plan Automotive Entrance).

Samsung SDI is the world’s sixth-largest car battery maker, counting BMW and Chrysler among its clients. However, sources inside Samsung told Reuters that it could be ‘several years’ before divisions other than Samsung SDI generation significant automotive sales.

Analyst Comment

Development cycles in the automotive industry are much longer than those for consumer electronics, and car makers are generally unwilling to take on suppliers that are new to the market.

It may be possible for Samsung to make its offer more attractive by combining parts into a bundle of chips, sensors, batteries and software. ABI Research’s Dominique Bonte told Reuters that acquisitions could also speed up the rate of acceptance, such as Renesas Electronics – the world’s top automotive chip maker last year. (TA)