Market Insight

[Display Dynamics] 2017 automotive display panel market review and supplier outlook

April 04, 2018

Stacy Wu Stacy Wu Principal Analyst, Small Medium Display & Automotive Display

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Key findings

  • Total automotive display panel shipments ended with 245.8 million units in 2017. TFT LCD shipments reached 147.7 million units, 9.3% Y/Y growth. AMOLED debuted in automotive in H2 2017 with small volumes.
  • Center stack and instrument cluster display markets reported double-digit growth rates with 11.4% and 12%, respectively. Other applications showed shipment decreases—mainly due to aftermarket shipment decreases. Shipments for the pre-assembly market increased to 89%.
  • In TFT LCD, JDI kept its leading position with 17.9% share. AUO was #2 with 12.1%. Sharp, LGD, and Innolux followed closely behind. Tianma’s share surged to around 10%.

TFT LCD growth rate slowdown

According to the Automotive Display Market Tracker, in 2017, total automotive display panel market shipments closed at 245.8 million units (2.1% Y/Y). TFT LCD had 60% share with 147.7 million units, 9.3% Y/Y growth. Center stack display and instrument cluster display both had continued good shipment growth rates, 11.4% and 12%, respectively. Room for aftermarket demand decreased, and the pre-assembly market increased to 89% in 2017. However, the growth ratio was accompanied by sharp price reductions and less room for shipment expansion. The automotive display panel market previously showed a high double-digit profit margin, but fierce competition led some panel makers to report low single-digit profit in 2017. Also, 2017 was the first year the TFT LCD shipment Y/Y growth rate dropped to single digit, continuing in 2018. Refer to “The changing competitive landscape in automotive display panel” for details.

AMOLED finally debuted (but in small volumes)

AMOLED finally debuted in the automotive market in 2017 for Audi A8 5.7 FHD rear seat entertainment display from Samsung Display. However, the shipment quantity was small and will not continue long-term. The next project was planned to be a 7‑inch e-mirror application for luxury electric vehicles, but it may not reach mass production. Suffering from sluggish AMOLED demand in the smartphone market and excess capacity, Samsung Display started to promote rigid and flexible AMOLED to car makers in H2 2017; it aims to reach 1000-hour lifetime and 1000 nits in 2019.

LG Display has promoted AMOLED for automotive since 2015. The company has been working closely with European and Japanese tier-one companies to enter the market, aiming for mass production in 2019. The application will be mainly for instrument cluster and center stack displays; a surge in shipments is expected in 2021. To reach automotive-grade specifications, especially on lifetime, AMOLED material cost will be high. Panel specifications and sizes will be mainly customized for luxury cars. Development cost also will be expensive. With the TFT LCD panel significant price drop these two years, like smartphone, AMOLED will face stronger price competition in automotive. Lifetime performance is also a challenge.

Other panel makers, such as AUO, BOE, Visionox, JDI/JOLED are working on samples, but do not have projects yet.

Supplier shipment ranking reshuffled

In TFT LCD, JDI kept its leading position with 17.9% share. AUO was #2 with 12.1% share. Sharp, LGD, and Innolux followed closely behind. Tianma’s share surged to around 10%.

Japan Display

Over 65% of JDI’s shipments were for instrument cluster display, mainly for European and Japanese tier-one companies. In 2017, it started to mass produce LTPS LCD for center stack display at its Gen 4.5 Ishigawa fab.

The company is aiming for 10‑15% Y/Y growth in 2018. It will continue to expand its LTPS LCD business for higher resolution instrument cluster and center stack display. JDI also leads the in-cell automotive display market, aiming to ship in 2018.

JDI works with JOLED to promote the automotive OLED business, but the earliest sample will be in 2021.

AUO

AUO expanded its instrument cluster, e-mirror, and head-up display business in 2017. Non-center stack display business shipment share increased to 20% that year, from 10% in 2016. The aftermarket business dropped below 5%. Steady growth from the updated product mix helped AUO become the #2 panel supplier.

AUO plans to grow 5‑10% in 2018. Major shipment growth drivers will continue to be instrument cluster, e-mirror, and head-up display. For center stack display, the company plans to grow its OGS touch business to 30% adoption to support revenue growth.

AUO has produced LTPS LCD for head-up display at its L3D since 2015. It plans to mass produce 8.88‑inch freeform LTPS LCD for e-mirror in Q3 2018 with L4B Singapore fab production planned for Chinese car makers. LTPS LCD business is expected to continue growing, eventually expanding to center stack display.

Sharp

Sharp continued to dedicate its instrument cluster display business to Ford in 2017 with small shipment volumes of LTPS LCD from its Taki fab. For center stack display, Sharp kept General Motors as a major customer and increased shipments to Bosch.

Sharp expects a 5‑10% increase from FY17 to FY18. The company will continue to propose LTPS and oxide (IGZO) for lower power consumption and free-form display as strategies.

LG Display

In 2017, LG Display showed the second largest Y/Y growth rate and became the #1 center stack display panel supplier. Center stack display generated 90% of its shipments, supported by strong demand from LGE VC and Denso Ten (previously Fujitsu Ten).

LG Display is aiming for a 10‑15% shipment increase in 2018. The center stack display business is suffering fierce price competition and the company will move all TFT LCD automotive production to its Gen 5 (P5) in 2018 to maintain price competitiveness. It is also preparing to produce LTPS LCD at its Gen 6 (P6) in 2019.

For long-term development, LG Display continuously shifts its focus from TFT LCD to AMOLED.

Innolux

Innolux reported fewer shipments in 2017. Its center stack display and other (mainly aftermarket) automobile monitor business suffered strong competition from Chinese panel makers. Also, its European and America automotive businesses were slightly down.

Innolux has an aggressive business plan in 2018 for over 30% Y/Y growth. It will be challenging because its European and American automotive businesses will grow from 2019, but not in 2018. Aftermarket demand is also decreasing. Nonetheless, the company won demand from Chinese car makers and plans to shift to 7‑inch FOG, which is produced at its Gen 6 with low price.

Tianma

Tianma had a strong year in 2017. The combined shipments of Tianma and Tianma Japan (originally NLT) reached 15.1 million units, 42.6% Y/Y growth. Tianma significantly expanded its Continental center stack display business, and its instrument cluster display shipments were mainly from Continental and Visteon.

Tianma plans to grow 25‑30% in 2018. Its center stack display business will increase to 40% of shipments. It will enter the head-up display market in late 2018.

CPT

CPT shipments were down 3.4% in 2017. Weak Chinese aftermarket demand and fierce newcomer competition slowed business. However, it increased its pre-assembly business to over 50%. It also increased its touch business.

The company plans to have 5‑10% growth in 2018, and will increase its on-cell touch business to increase revenue.

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