The VMOS power transistor has undergone a steady series of improvements since its introduction in the mid 1970's. The current and voltage handling capabilities of this class of transistors have each increased by more than a factor of ten. The present status of VMOS power transistors as elements in automotive systems is covered in this paper. Emphasis is placed on the electrical characteristics that set these devices apart from bipolar transistors. Future directions in the development of VMOS power transistor technology are also discussed.