Samsung Says Autonomous Driving Key to Its Car Components Push

The Automotive Ambitions of Samsung and Apple
  • Electronics unit names Park to lead push into car components
  • Smartphone, TV maker lags rival LG in vehicle parts business

Samsung Electronics Co. will focus on autonomous driving, information and entertainment components for automobiles in its push to boost sales in the car parts business, where South Korean rival LG Electronics Inc. has established a lead.

Samsung, the world’s largest maker of chips and smartphones, named Park Jong Hwan, executive vice president, to head the effort, it said today in a statement. Park will coordinate participation of the group’s affiliates such as battery maker Samsung SDI Co. and software services provider Samsung SDS Co.

Electronics makers from Apple Inc. to Panasonic Corp., LG and Samsung are vying for slices of an automobile industry that expects to put autonomous, or driverless, vehicles packed with electronic sensors and displays on the road in this decade. For Samsung, the effort is also a way to help make up for declining growth in televisions and a mainstay smartphone business that’s been battered by lower-cost rivals in China and India.

“Samsung just can’t leave this huge market untapped,” said Greg Roh, an analyst at HMC Investment Securities Co. in Seoul. He said car electronics such as advanced semiconductors, car audio and sensors account for about 30 percent of the total smart car market.

Samsung formed an alliance with Volkswagen AG’s Audi unit to provide memory chips for the company’s dashboard, infotainment and advanced driver assistance applications, the South Korea-based company said Nov. 23.

The global automotive semiconductor market is expected to grow to about $32.7 billion in 2016, Samsung said, citing figures from Gartner Inc.

LG is supplying 11 systems for the new Bolt, General Motors Co.’s electric car, including the electric-drive motor, charger, batteries, the companies said in October. The companies agreed in 2011 to jointly design and engineer electric vehicles, a deal that expanded on an existing relationship.

LG, which also competes with Samsung in televisions and smartphones, reported 478.6 billion won ($406 million) in revenue from vehicle components for the September quarter. Samsung doesn’t provide results for its vehicle components business.

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