As automobile manufacturers strive to differentiate their cars from those of their competitors, they will emphasize comfort, convenience and safety to attract customers, according to research from Frost & Sullivan, a marketing and consulting firm.

Automakers are installing more electronic systems to provide the comfortable driving experience consumers demand.

Automotive sensors, which monitor and help control car functions, from powertrain operation to airbag deployment, will become increasingly important components in new automobiles.

A new analysis by Frost & Sullivan ( "North American Automotive OE Sensor Market," reveals the total market reached $1.39 billion in 2000.

Growth is expected to continue through the 2001-2007 forecast period. The total market comprises temperature, position, pressure, torque, motion and yaw-rate sensors. Revenues in 2007 are forecast to be $1.75 billion.

"Because of the price-sensitive nature of the original equipment (OE) automotive components market, suppliers must maximize the efficiency of their operations to remain competitive," says Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst, Prince De. Production automation, employee training, inventory reduction, quality assurance and waste reduction programs are effective means to achieve this goal.

"Finding new applications for existing technologies will help overcome price pressures," says Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Joerg Dittmer. "Motion and yaw-rate sensors, which are used in stability systems, could be utilized in rollover detection and anti-theft systems. Meanwhile, sensor suppliers could find new automotive customers overseas."