The two are broadening an existing partnership in powertrain and engine control. “We’ll work with them in body, in-vehicle entertainment, hybrid vehicles, and powertrain,” said Kevin Klein, Standard Product Marketing Manager at Freescale’s 32-bit embedded controller division.
The arrangement will span most of Freescale’s automotive portfolio, including 32-bit Power Architecture MCUs, 16-bit S12X and 8-bit S08 devices, and analog power management ICs.
“Chery is partnering with us in a virtual lab so they can start developing their own expertise. For us, this represents an opportunity to work with an up-and-coming automotive manufacturer,” Klein said.
China’s nascent automotive market currently focuses more on cost than on the addition of features and functions that dominates vehicles sold in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. “In China, there’s more emphasis on cost in powertrains, though their emissions standards are catching up to those in North America and Europe,” Klein said.
In other applications, the Chinese “are catching up quickly in terms of expectations,” so more of the features found on cars made for more industrialized nations are being added. Klein also noted that Chery is attempting to export vehicles, so these cars need to match the features and functions now being marketed in other geographies.
China is already the world's second largest automotive market after the U.S. Manufacturing expanded to 8.8 million vehicles last year, growing by more than 22%, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. China exported 413,500 finished cars, buses, and trucks in the first 10 months of 2007, up 64% from the same period in 2006, according to the China Commerce Ministry. J.D. Power and Associates predicts China could become the world’s top automotive market some time after 2015, overtaking the U.S.
That growth far exceeds 9.2% growth in the global market for automotive semiconductors in 2007, according to Strategy Analytics. Freescale again topped the $19.3 billion market, with 10.3% of the market. In the U.S., Freescale has 21.4% of the market, according to Strategy Analytics.