For excellent discernment of customer needs and backing up that ability by optimising product lines as required by the automotive market in the European passenger car industry, NEC Electronics (Europe) GmbH is presented with the 2004 Frost & Sullivan Product Line Strategy Leadership Award. NEC’s microcontroller product family, which comprises several platforms for electronic systems solutions in cars, has greatly benefited the European market for semiconductors in passenger cars. NEC’s S_, F_ and D_Line microcontroller families cover different systems in passenger cars. While the S_Line is for car audio features, F_ and D_Lines are for body electronics and dashboard systems. The company also provides supplementary microcontrollers for powertrains, safety, security and chassis applications. “NEC Electronics uses reduced instruction set computing-based architecture with in-built flexibility, enabling reuse of software,” says Frost & Sullivan research analyst Ramanan Rajagopalan. “This strategy provides original equipment manufacturers with greater choices in scalable microcontroller platforms for various features in cars.” Increasing demand for flash memory integration capacity could expand the market for automotive microcontrollers. This has especially given rise to market expectations for more sophisticated 32-bit microcontrollers with embedded flash memory and interfaces such as control area network (CAN) and local interconnect network (LIN). The migration to higher-level microcontrollers is favourable to NEC’s scalable microcontroller platforms. Apart from performance-enhancing features, the company also has a stake in the infotainment section with its graphical microcontrollers. Such a wide portfolio of microcontroller lines for all applications in a car has further distinguished NEC from its competitors. The increasing demand for comfort and safety features is set to trigger exponential growth in the number of microcontrollers in cars. With microcontrollers constituting a third of all electronic content in a car, NEC is well positioned to build on its current market share of 16 per cent. “NEC Electronics richly deserves the award for its ability to serve different market segments within an industry by repurposing technology,” concludes Mr. Rajagopalan.