As Samsung’s IT & Mobile Communications business continues to contribute to the company’s positive financial quarterly results, numerous reports are beginning to paint an interesting picture of Samsung Electronics getting increasingly involved in the automotive market. Specifically, recent reports suggest that Samsung is building new relations and partnerships with big names in the automotive industry, and is preparing to become a supplier of car components.
Last month Samsung Electronics acquired a stake in Chinese electric car company BYD, and according to a more recent report from Korea, the tech giant has already partnered with Italian automotive system manufacturer Magneti Marelli “on a group-wide basis”, including Samsung Display for the creation of automobile dashboard displays, and Samsung Electro-Mechanics for automotive cameras. In fact, a rumor passed along by Bloomberg last week suggests that Samsung Electronics could be planning on buying Fiat’s auto parts division Magneti Marelli, following the signing of a deal worth $3 billion. Meanwhile and judging by a patent application that was published earlier in the summer (image below), Samsung Electronics seems to be working on developing smart accessories and parts for vehicles, including a smart rear-view mirror (#931) boasting facial recognition technologies, an ECG electrode for steering wheels (#932) which could monitor and collect heart rate data for the driver, and even a smart seat belt (#933) which could feature a built-in tensile force sensor.
Whatever the case may be, all the recent reports indicate that Samsung Electronics intends to be a bigger part of the automotive market, and not only by manufacturing and selling aftermarket accessories such as the Samsung Connect Auto dongle, but also by supplying car manufacturers with (smart) electronic components. Samsung already has some expertise in the automotive industry – a lot compared to other smartphone manufacturers – and the chaebol’s first attempts to enter the market led to the establishment of Samsung Motors in the year 1994. Samsung Motors later became Renault Samsung Motors whose parent company is none other than Renault, holding 80.1% of the business whereas Samsung’s shares account for the other 19.9%. However, Renault Samsung Motors is a different venture and doesn’t seem to have any stake in Samsung Electronics’ alleged plans for becoming a next-gen auto component supplier.