PARIS -- Not long ago, automotive lighting consisted of headlights, taillights, turn signals and a few interior bulbs. But today’s cars are veritable Christmas trees, from front grilles that pulse with elaborate “lighting signatures,” through customizable mood lighting in the interior, to full-width light bars in the rear.
“Lighting everywhere” is what Valeo CEO Christophe Perillat calls it.
Valeo and fellow French suppliers Forvia (formerly Faurecia) and Plastic Omnium have gone all in on lighting in the last few years. They have snapped up players as large as Hella (bought by Faurecia for $6 billion) to gain market share in a business poised to ride the megatrends of electrification, increased safety regulations and ADAS to outperform the overall auto market.
“Hella is perfect because it has two main specialties, one of which, lighting, is a nice add that is aligned with what we are doing in terms of systems, design and safety -- it works very well in our portfolio,” Forvia CEO Patrick Koller told Automotive News Europe in a recent interview. “Then you have Hella’s electronics and software, which will give us size to achieve leading positions, especially in automated driving and in electrification.”
The automotive lighting sector is predicted to outperform production growth, as new comfort, safety and design features are introduced. Yole Group, a French consulting company that analyzes technical trends, says the overall market will grow by 5 percent annually from 2021 until 2027, but production will grow just 2 percent a year.