HID Headlight Adoption Rate Lagging Other Safety Equipment

OSRAM to Car Dealers: Missed Profit Opportunity

Mar 14, 2011, 12:38 ET from OSRAM SYLVANIA

HILLSBORO, N.H., March 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Though High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights made their debut more than a decade ago, they are not catching on as quickly as other safety features like traction control, stability control and tire pressure monitoring. OSRAM SYLVANIA executives see this as a missed opportunity. The cost to install HID is relatively low when available as an option, which means dealers can offer car buyers a great safety feature while making a profit.

According to Sharon Ernest, NAFTA Automotive HID Product Manager for OSRAM SYLVANIA Specialty Lighting, about 22 percent of new vehicles in 2007 came with HID as standard equipment or offered it as an upgrade. By 2015, 38 percent of new vehicles will feature HID as standard or optional. Yet Ernest expects the take rate to only increase about 3 percentage points, unless dealers start making it easier for consumers to upgrade their headlights to HID.

HID lighting, also referred to as Xenon lighting, provides the brightest illumination available and is considered the benchmark against which other forward lighting technologies are measured. Xenon provides three times the light output of standard halogen lights and promotes better driving visibility by providing enhanced peripheral vision and improved down road illumination. HID lighting produces a crisp white light that stimulates reflective paint in road markers and signs. Plus, HID lights do not have a filament to break or degrade so they last up to 10 times longer than standard halogen bulbs.

"HID is a great safety feature for consumers, and dealers can make an easy profit on it," said Ernest. "But they seem to be bundling it with more expensive packages that consumers aren't as willing to invest in. Making it a stand-alone option would be ideal."

Past research indicates that drivers with HID feel a greater sense of safety. This is likely because HID allows drivers to see potential dangers sooner and adds 30 to 50 more yards of effective stopping distance. HID bulbs produce a light that resembles natural sunlight, which according to research, makes it easier for the human eye to see objects in low light conditions.

Xenon lights are also energy efficient: Bi-Xenon lighting uses up to 65% less light than conventional quad lighting, reducing CO2 emissions of a vehicle by approximately 2.1g/mile.

Dealers in the U.S., unlike Europe and Asia, often do not stock models that feature HID. Plus, they typically prefer that consumers order from their inventory vs. customizing a vehicle. Ernest suggests that dealers request and order HID-equipped vehicles from automakers.

More information about OSRAM's HID lighting offering can be found online at www.sylvania.com/businessproducts/automotivelighting.


OSRAM SYLVANIA, together with OSRAM GmbH, is the world leader in automotive lighting for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and the aftermarket.  The company's global automotive lighting division has its principal North American operations in Hillsboro, N.H., with nearly 700 employees. In addition to TS 16949, this facility has also achieved ISO 9001 and 14001 certifications. Automotive Lighting designs, develops, manufactures and markets state-of-the-art automotive light sources, including auxiliary, advanced halogen, LED and high-intensity discharge lighting for interior, exterior and forward lighting applications.  Over 400 lamp types are produced for cars, trucks, and electronics in facilities throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Automotive applications for OEMs are marketed under the OSRAM brand while products for the aftermarket are sold under the SYLVANIA brand.

OSRAM SYLVANIA is a leader in lighting solutions and specialty products that feature innovative design and energy saving technology.  The company sells products for homes, businesses and vehicles primarily under the SYLVANIA brand name, and also under the OSRAM brand. Headquartered in Danvers, Mass., OSRAM SYLVANIA is the North American operation of OSRAM GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of Siemens AG. For more information, visit www.sylvania.com.