David O’Connell

David O’Connell

Magna Mirrors is the world's largest producer of automotive mirror systems and a major supplier of engineered glass systems and door handles. In this interview, Matthew Beecham spoke to David O'Connell, Vice President - Global Engineering and R&D, Magna Mirrors & Magna Closures about the auto-dimming and power-folding mirror markets and the increasing use of cameras on cars.

Over the past few years, the standard rearview mirror has been transformed into a high tech hub of auto electronics. To what extent is there a trend in North America toward higher featured mirrors?

Both inside mirrors and outside mirrors are seeing an increase in feature content. For outside mirrors, these features can include lighting, cameras, turn and/or blind-spot indicators, sensors, power folding mechanisms and auto-dimming functionality (EC). For inside mirrors, features include cameras, displays, sensors, telematics controls (i.e. Uconnect and Onstar), garage door controls, and auto-dimming functionality.

What else can we expect to see packaged into either the exterior or interior rearview mirrors?

We expect to see further growth and increased market penetration of the features listed above, especially lights, cameras, displays and controls. The majority of camera growth is with the outside mirror, since our OEM customers are tending to decouple the camera from the inside mirror.

The auto-dimming mirror market has shown phenomenal growth over the past decade. What are the prospects for this application in emerging markets?

Emerging markets will slowly adopt auto-dimming mirrors. We expect a 5 percent take rate in 10 years.

While auto-dimming rearview mirrors have their obvious benefits, they are still expensive. Are there alternative, cheaper technologies available?

Some OEMs (Honda, for example) have used blue glass as an alternative to auto-dimming. However, the use of blue glass has declined in recent years. While no other alternative technologies have entered the marketplace, Magna is always investigating new technologies for the auto-dimming mirror.

More cameras are being increasingly added to cars and using the interior mirror as a video monitor. Could we expect to see more of this type of camera technology in emerging markets?

The remainder of this interview is available on just-auto's QUBE Global light vehicle OE mirrors market- forecasts to 2030

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