High-tech dashboards signal big changes for auto suppliers
SAN FRANCISCO -- Peer at the instrument panel on your new car and you may find sleek digital gauges and multicolored screens. But a glimpse behind the dashboard could reveal what U.S. auto supplier Visteon Corp found: a mess.
As automotive cockpits become crammed with ever more digital features such as navigation and entertainment systems, the electronics holding it all together have become a rat's nest of components made by different parts makers.
Now the race is on to clean up the clutter.
Visteon, based near Detroit, is among a slew of suppliers aiming to make dashboard innards simpler, cheaper and lighter as the industry accelerates toward a so-called virtual cockpit -- an all-digital dashboard that will help usher in the era of self-driving cars.
What's at stake is a piece of the $37-billion cockpit electronics market, estimated by research firm IHS Market to nearly double to $62 billion by 2022. Accounting firm PwC estimates that electronics could account for up to 20 percent of a car's value in the next two years, up from 13 percent in 2015.
Meanwhile, the number of suppliers for those components is likely to dwindle as automakers look to work with fewer companies capable