The automotive industry has been experiencing explosive growth in the use of electronics. With this growth comes a demand to use the electronics as efficiently as possible, and the automotive electronics engineer is faced with a myraid of choices. In many automotive applications, an application-specific IC provides the most effective implementation. However, the decision to use an ASIC is just the first of many decisions. Not only must a type of ASIC be selected, but the engineer must also be aware of the system-level design tradeoffs which will make the ASIC most effective. In addition, the engineer must also choose the design tools to be used and the most suitable interface with the ASIC supplier. This paper outlines the major choices, and provides guidelines for selecting the best ASIC solution for a particular application.