Why Sony, Panasonic and Toshiba want to be in your next car

Japan's big consumer brands like Sony and Panasonic once had dominance of tech goods with products like the Walkman and VCRs. However, with rise of new technology, competitors in Asia and the leviathan of Apple, that market is now absolutely cutthroat. In a bid to survive, the nation's old powerhouses are looking towards the auto industry with greater purpose, and you should expect more of their innovations to make it into future vehicles.

Panasonic is likely the poster child for this change in focus; increasing its profile as an automotive supplier. Shedding some of its former association with audio equipment, the brand is already one of the leading battery makers for electric models and is an investor in the Tesla Gigafactory. According to Automotive News, the division responsible for offering parts to car companies is now among the largest in the corporation and could be responsible for 20 percent of global revenue by 2019.

Sony too is shifting its eye towards the car business. "This growing automotive segment has enormous potential. We're aiming to take a leading position," CEO Kazuo Hirai said during this year's CES, according to Automotive News. The company is concentrating on developing its camera technology for the growing image sensor market, and the popularity of driver assistance systems is expected to drive a boom in the components in near future.

Reducing the emphasis on consumer goods and instead supplying automakers offers the chance at higher profit margins, and companies like Toshiba and Hitachi are also making these shifts. With their traditional business cooling, these well-known Japanese brands are hoping to grab a piece of the still hot car market.

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