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More cars to feature LED bulbs

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of environmental issues and so it’s no surprise that there isa demand for energy efficient light bulbs complete with environmentally friendly packaging. It seems as though this trend may also be spilling over to the auto industry, affecting manufacturers’ selection of car bulbs.

According to a report on Automotive News, full-LED front headlamps, which were once only seen in Europe in supercars, are now appearing in the compact segment. Models like the new Peugeot 308 will have these bulbs, which are more efficient and produce less heat. The news source noted that this will be a “big leap for the technology”, which was previously only available on top-end models like the Audi R8 and Mercedes-Benz CLS because it costs around three times as much as comparable xenon lights.

When Peugeot launches the 308 at the Frankfurt auto show in September 2013, it will become the first manufacturer in Europe to offer full-LED headlamps as a standard feature in the majority of the compact’s trim lines.

However, it is by no means the only company looking to take greater advantage of this technology. Automotive News pointed out that Seat offers full-LED headlamps as an option on the high-end versions of its Leon compact in Europe and Ford plans to introduce full-LED headlamps from Valeo in its next-generation Mondeo next year.

Commenting on the future of these car bulbs, sector analyst at IHS Automotive Andrew Herzig said: “The general message from suppliers and (original equipment manufacturers) is that they expect LED headlamps will grow at the expense of both xenon and halogen in the medium term.”

However, many analysts remain cautious in terms of the speed of LED headlamp take-up. For example, experts at Oliver Wyman last year predicted that until 2016, halogen’s share of the headlamp market will decline by around ten per cent to 70 per cent, while xenon’s will increase by seven per cent to approximately 27 per cent. At the same time, LED will go up from less than one per cent to between three per cent and four per cent, with nine in ten of these headlamps installed in luxury models.

Commenting on why LEDs are gaining in popularity, Automotive News noted that designers love the products because they allow them to convert plain headlights and taillights into “strong fashion statements”. Meanwhile, engineers like them because they are highly energy efficient and do not generate heat.

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