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[Exclusive] Samsung in talks with Hyundai over OLED supply for Genesis

Samsung Display may supply its organic light-emitting diode panels for Hyundai Motor’s luxury sedan Genesis, according to sources Tuesday.

If the deal is confirmed, it will be Hyundai’s first adoption of OLED panels for its automobiles.

“Samsung is in talks with Hyundai to supply its OLED display for Genesis’ instrument cluster and center information display,” a source familiar with the matter told The Korea Herald.

The discussion, which began last year, is still ongoing, as Hyundai is unsure of the safety and durability of the technology, which has not yet been proven in the market. 
(Samsung Display)
(Samsung Display)

OLED panels have never been used in the mass production of automobiles because they are weaker in terms of durability and brightness under direct sunlight than liquid crystal display panels, experts said.

“Hyundai wants to get some samples first before signing the deal, but Samsung is reluctant to do that out of fear of technology leaks,” the source added.

Still, both sides have good reasons to pursue the deal.

Samsung, which recently jumped back into the automobile market, does not yet have many examples of its products’ use in the market. Meanwhile, Hyundai needs to help its luxury sedans stand out amid growing demand for advanced electronics in automobiles, industry sources said.

Samsung supplied its LCD panels for Hyundai’s audio-video navigation system until 2013, but it stopped the supply after pulling out of the automobile display business, saying they did not think it was lucrative enough. That has allowed its rival firm LG Display to increase its presence in the market.

Samsung recently disclosed its ambition of becoming a tier 1 parts supplier to carmakers. It acquired the US auto parts company Harman International in November and tested a self-driving vehicle early this month.

“What Samsung wants from the Hyundai deal is not just the simple supply of displays. That is just part of Samsung’s ultimate dream of building total automobile platforms including its chip, display, infotainment, battery and even operating system Tizen,” said Joo Dae-young, chief of Korea Photonics Technology Institute’s opto-mechatronics research center.

Samsung reportedly supplied its curved OLED panels for German automaker Audi’s upcoming luxury sedan A8, which was showcased during the Consumer Electronics Show 2016. When they are mass produced, it would be Samsung’s first OLED panels used for automobiles, though Audi Korea did not confirm whether the new sedan to be unveiled in July would use Samsung’s OLED panels.

The automotive display market, which includes center stack displays, instrument cluster displays and head-up displays, will reach $20 billion in 2022, an increase of $9 billion from 2017, according to new analysis from business information provider IHS Markit.

By Shin Ji-hye (