Electric motors take off in autos

Use of electronic control in many automotive systems is driving demand for low power rated electric motors across the European market.

Modern cars now incorporate a significant number of mini-motors used in a range of applications from raising and lowering windows to controlling air conditioning systems, right through to ABS and engine cooling.

Increasing demand for these motors resulted in revenues of $1.67 billion for the European automotive electric motors market in 2000, with total shipments at 566.7 million units. Good market growth is expected to continue, with revenues reaching $2.24 billion and shipments growing to 929.1 million units in 2007, according to a new study by Frost & Sullivan.

The study divides the market into three main areas: comfort-related motors (for example, window lift motors and wiper motors), performance-related motors (used to enhance control) and volume-related motors (simple low value motors shipped in significant quantities).

The comfort-related motors market is the largest of the three, holding 62.6 percent of revenues, equal to $1.05 billion in 2000. Growth is not expected to be as strong as in other sectors.

Despite being the leading market in terms of shipments (365.1 million units), the volume motors market, which includes door lock motors and air conditioning flap motors, only had a 13.3 percent ($222.6 million) share of total market revenues.

The final market – performance-related motors – deals with high-end motors such as ABS motors and engine cooling motors. It was worth $402.5 million with shipments of 81.8 million units in 2000. This market has a number of emerging applications including throttle control, electric steering as well as many others. These should offer further scope for enhanced growth, making this an attractive sector, especially related to revenues.

In total terms, the market is highly competitive. Although there is a limited total of motor manufacturers serving this sector, supplier’s face strong pressures related to production levels, prices, service, quality and innovation. The study found that the market had been affected by price cuts, with trends impacted by strong discounting and industry pressures.