Taiwanese semiconductor chip manufacturers will prioritize the auto industry amid an ongoing global microchip shortage.
Taiwan’s economic minister, Wang Mei-hua, met with executives of semiconductor chip manufacturers this week to discuss strategies for addressing the ongoing shortage, which has forced several major automakers to halt production of certain vehicles. The chip makers said they can prioritize their auto industry partners before others to help get vehicle production back up and running and will reach out to those buyers to see if they delay the production of certain products.
“Chipmakers are willing to follow the government’s request and try to support auto chips as much as they can to support production in the U.S., Europe and Japan,” Wang Mei-hua told Reuters.
“For example, if their capacity is at 100% now, they will try to raise it to 102% or 103%, with the extra capacity going to make auto chips,” she added.
Mei-hua met with executives from several semiconductor chip makers, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC), United Microelectronics Corp (UMC), Powerchip Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp and Vanguard International Semiconductor Corp.
Microchips are in high demand in the auto industry, as today’s technologically advanced vehicles use an abundance of different microchips for everything from engine software to electrically operated seats. The problem was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced many automakers to close plants early last year before a sudden surge in vehicle demand put them in competition for microchips with the consumer electronics industry.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also forced many employees to begin working from home, creating more demand for laptops, tablets and other related electronics, squeezing the semiconductor market even further.
“This appears to be long-term demand so it will take some time to solve the problem,” Mei-hua acknowledged.
While General Motors has not yet had to pause a production line due to semiconductor shortages, it had to remove two options from the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL due to the situation, GM Authority exclusively reported this month. Rival manufacturers like Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Subaru and Nissan have all been forced to pause production of certain vehicles due to the shortage.