Consumer appetites for car navigation and Global Position Systems (GPS) have become voracious, possibly prompting worldwide shipments of automotive navigation systems to triple between 2006 to 2012, according to a report from industry analyst iSuppli Corp. Since 2001, the automotive navigation market has gone from being dominated by embedded systems installed in cars to being taken over by Personal Navigation Devices (PND), which are handheld devices users can carry with them. The raised awareness of navigation is now having an uplifting effect on all types of systems, including line-fit units, with iSuppli forecasting total market shipments of 65.1 million navigation systems by 2012—more than three times the 19.8 million shipped in 2006. The rise in popularity of PNDs has encouraged the two leaders in this market—Tom-Tom and Garmin—to expand their business. “These companies now are two of the fastest-growing semiconductor buyers in the world because demand is so hot,” said Richard Robinson, principal analyst for automotive electronics at iSuppli. “Given that the handheld navigation market is still at such an early stage of development, this is an amazing feat.” Tom-Tom and Garmin have experienced dramatic revenue growth during the past four years, rising to billion-dollar companies in 2006 due to high demand from the automotive infotainment market. Tom-Tom grew to nearly $1.6 billion in revenue in 2006, up from $10 million in 2002. However, competition is heating up as other companies have caught onto the GPS boom. As the market for navigation devices forecast continues to soar, the leading companies are finding that they need to do a little navigating themselves, with an estimated 100 Original Design Manufacturers (ODM) from Taiwan and Korea entering the market to take advantage of the brisk sales growth. Currently, the biggest threat to these dominant suppliers comes from Taiwanese ODM Mitac, which owns the Mio brand and recently purchased the Navman brand. According to iSuppli’s latest market share data, Mio and Navman together captured 20 percent of the market in 2006, putting Mitac in the No. 3 spot, behind Tom-Tom and Garmin. Tom-Tom and Garmin posted 37 percent and 25 percent market shares, respectively.