Is The Worst Finally Over: Automotive Chip Supply Expected To Ramp Up In Second Half Of 2021

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Jun 23, 2021 - 09:00 PM

It looks like the ongoing semiconductor pain for the auto industry could finally be on the track to subsiding.

That's because car chip vendors are now able to "ramp up output" thanks to more foundry house support coming online, Digitimes Asia reported overnight. 

The report notes that some international automotive IC vendors have "notified their clients that they can expect more supplies in second-half 2021" as foundries expand production capacity. 

For example, the report notes that "Globalfoundries has just broken ground for a 12-inch fab construction project in Singapore". 

Additionally, industry sources in Taiwan told Digitimes that delivery lead times are set to be shortened substantially from the over 50 weeks they were previously at.

It's the first sliver of good news for the automotive industry since the semi shortage began as a result of the pandemic. Up until this report, projections for "returns to normal" looked pessimistic and gloomy not only from the automotive industry, but also from consumer electronics companies.

Recall, just two weeks ago, we noted that Flex, the world’s third-biggest electronics contract manufacturer, offered up the "gloomiest" forecast for the crisis yet. The company has more than 100 sites in 30 countries and works with major names like Dyson and HP. 

Lynn Torrel, Flex’s chief procurement and supply chain officer, told FT: “With such strong demand, the expectation is mid to late-2022 depending on the commodity. Some are expecting [shortages to continue] into 2023.”

Revathi Advaithi, chief executive of Flex added that the shortage has prompted the company's multinational customers to "take a far more serious look at restructuring their supply chains than the trade war between the US and China ever did".

Adavaithi commented: “Most companies won’t make a decision to regionalize just on tariffs. They know it could be a short-term thing but things like the pandemic and escalation of shipping costs that impact the total cost of ownership drives regionalization.”

Flex's pessimistic forecast follows that of Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger weeks ago, who we pointed out said that the shortage could last "a couple years". 

We noted in mid-May that Taiwan Semiconductor had plans of "doubling down" and vastly increasing its investment for production in Arizona. The chipmaking giant said at the time it was "weighing plans to pump tens of billions of dollars more into cutting-edge chip factories in the U.S. state of Arizona than it had previously disclosed".

The company had already said it was going to invest $10 billion to $12 billion in Arizona. It now appears to be mulling a more advanced 3 nanometer plant that could cost between $23 billion and $25 billion. The changes would come over the next 10 to 15 years, as the company builds out its Phoenix campus.

In May we noted how automakers were being forced to leave some high tech features out of new vehicles as a result of the semi shortage. Days before that, we pointed out "thousands" of Ford trucks sitting along the highway in Kentucky, awaiting semi chips for completion of assembly.