Intelligent cars draw investors to tech stocks

Wed Jul 2, 2014 5:22am EDT
 
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By Blaise Robinson

PARIS (Reuters) - Technology and telecoms firms could be the big winners in a connected car market that may be worth $50 billion over the next decade, luring investors away from traditional automakers.

Chip-makers or tech giants such as Infineon and Google are among a variety of companies involved in the rapid development and testing of intelligent cars from those that drive themselves to those allowing a driver to use mobile phone apps through the dashboard.

A number of carmakers are embracing the trend, with Nissan Motor Co, Volkswagen AG's Audi and Toyota Motor Corp working with outside tech firms to test self-driving car technology.

However, it is the tech and telecom firms - from U.S. bellwethers to small European companies - that are seen benefiting the most, fund managers and analysts said.

"It's a whole new market emerging," said Christian Jimenez, fund manager and president of Diamant Bleu Gestion.

"The best way to play it for investors in the long term is to buy names such as Microsoft or chip makers such as Infineon, not (automakers) Peugeot and Renault".

If the new market grows to $50 billion as forecast by French bank Exane BNP Paribas that would be roughly half the size of German carmaker BMW's revenues last year.

Internet giant Google Inc is leading the charge among tech companies, trying to break into the century-old industry as it works on its own prototypes of fully autonomous vehicles.   Continued...

 
Chris Urmson, director of Google's Self-Driving Car Project, stands in front of a self-driving car at the Computer History Museum after a presentation in Mountain View, California May 13, 2014. REUTERS/Stephen Lam