Panasonic's Automotive Influence Grows as Company Takes Over Supplier

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
panasonic s automotive influence grows as company takes over supplier

The company once known mainly for its televisions is growing ever-longer tentacles into the automotive industry.

Panasonic, which is already a major battery supplier for electrified vehicles, has bought a majority stake in a Spanish auto parts supplier, giving it a larger foothold in the automotive realm.

Reuters reports Samsung has decided to purchase an extra 20 percent of Ficosa, which produces high-tech automotive mirrors and various safety systems, raises its ownership of the company to 69 percent. Panasonic hasn’t detailed the purchase cost.

The deal, which could be approved in April, is part of an industry-wide trend towards high-value automobiles. As we’ve seen with Google, Apple, and a myriad of other tech companies, there’s money in them there cars. Builders of mobile devices and other electronics see supplying the auto industry as a stable meal ticket — the best way to avoid ruin while battling for scarce dollars at the lower end of the consumer market.

Panasonic’s Automotive & Industrial Systems Company has many global branches, with its American offices located in Peachtree, Georgia, and Farmington Hills, Michigan. Globally, the company predicts auto-related income of nearly $18 billion by 2019. That income surge comes by way of infotainment and connectivity systems that no new car can be without.

In 2015, Ficosa announced a new production facility in Tennessee for its rear-view camera systems — its first in the U.S. It opened on October 31. From that plant, the company supplies the Detroit Three, as well as Nissan and Volkswagen.

The two companies have already partnered on the development of an “intelligent” rear-view mirror that uses a rear-facing camera to project an image.

[Image: © 2017 Chris Tonn/The Truth About Cars]

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  • Sceptic Sceptic on Mar 22, 2017

    This article is completely confusing. Which is it Panasonic or Samsung? "****Samsung**** has decided to purchase an extra 20 percent of Ficosa, which ... raises its ownership of the company to 69 percent. ****Panasonic**** hasn’t detailed the purchase cost." Hello, proofreader or editor needed.

  • Daniel J Daniel J on Mar 22, 2017

    Some Rambling thoughts. I used Panasonic Head unites in several cars back in the late 90's and early 2000's. I don't know what it was about their digital amps in their head units, but they always sounded better to my ear over Sony and Pioneer. Also Interesting is had Panasonic directly and several recruiters try and get me to interview over there in Peachtree GA. Getting to Samsung, a friend of mine works for a company doing high end Video stuff that was purchased some time ago by Harman. Then recently Samsung purchased Harmon mainly for Harman's auto business.

    • See 2 previous
    • JimZ JimZ on Mar 22, 2017

      @golden2husky it's not "electronic processing;" you have to boost the supply voltage to the power amp.

  • Carlson Fan I think it is pretty cool & grew up with a '75 Ford window van so I can attest to their utility. $60K is a lot for any vehicle and I'm not convinced EV's are ready for prime time for a number of reasons. It would make an awesome 2nd or 3rd vehicle in a multi-car household but again the price would keep most from considering it.I agree with the other comments that those who have to have it will buy it and then sales will drop off. Offer a panel version for the commercial market, that could have possibilities.
  • Wjtinfwb Panther Black? or Black Panther? Shaped like a decade old Ford detectives sedan? Seems like an odd way to send out your marquee car...
  • Kwik_Shift Instead of blacked, how about chromed? Don't follow the herd.
  • Carlson Fan Nicest looking dash/gage cluster ever put in any PU truck. After all these years it still looks so good.
  • Wheatridger Correct me if I'm wrong, but has the widescreen digital dash usurped the space formerly occupied in every other car by an HVAC vent? I see one prominent vent well right of center, where there should be two. I rely on twin driver's side vents to warm my hands on cold mornings, and I wouldn't give that up for more screen area.