navigationFrost & Sullivan predicts strong growth for car navigation systems in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

In a research report that looks at the prospects for car-navigation systems in these four Asian countries, the researchers put the spotlight on high-potential markets that are often overshadowed by the bigger growth markets China and India.

Frost & Sullivan expects a compound annual growth rate of 33.5 percent in the four countries between 2009 and 2015.  It predicts the market will grow to 1.7 million units by 2015.

Because of their relatively low pricing, personal navigation devices (PNDs) will see the strongest growth. PNDs currently account for 95 percent of the total navigation market in the four countries.

Embedded systems are likely to remain a niche product. “With line-fit embedded systems costing 30 to 50 times more than PNDs, vehicle manufacturers tend to shy away from providing them as standard specifications,” said Masaki Honda, senior consultant in Frost & Sullivan’s Asia Pacific automotive practice.

Embedded systems had a penetration rate of only 1.8 percent of new cars in 2009, he said.

Honda said drivers in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand still consider navigation systems a non-essential option in the car. But he predicted that new features such as tolls, traffic jams, accident and parking-space information will make drivers’ more keen to have navigation on board.

In Thailand, the car navigation systems market is forecast to grow 30 percent to 322,300 units in 2011 from 247,800 units this year. Honda predicted that automaker-fitted systems, now seen mostly in bigger and luxury cars, will move to the C and B segments in the future.

In Indonesia, the market is seen growing 49.5 percent to 79,100 units as increasing public awareness and affordability give sales a boost.

In Malaysia the market is expected to increase 49.2 percent to 155,800 units in 2011 from 104,000 this year. National car maker Proton is expected to equip 90 percent of its models with navigation systems by 2015, which should give the market a boost, Frost & Sullivan’s Honda said in a statement.

In Singapore, where the size of the country means most people know their way around without help from  navigation systems, the market is forecast to grow 11.1 percent to 42,200 units from 38,000.