AIPEI (TAIWAN) – Amid a global shortage of auto chips that has hampered car production, Taiwan Ministry has said that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) will prioritise production of auto chips if it is able to further increase capacity.
A ministry official said Minister Wang Mei-hua spoke to senior company executives on Sunday about the issue.
TSMC had told the ministry that in order to make things more efficient they will “optimise” the manufacturing process of chips prioritise auto chip production if it is able to further increase capacity, the ministry said.
TSMC, in a statement referred to comments from its Chief Executive Officer C.C. Wei on an earnings call this month and said “Other than continuously maximising utilisation of our existing capacity, Dr. Wei also confirmed in our investors’ conference that we are working with customers closely and moving some of their mature nodes to more advanced nodes, where we have better capacity to support them,” the company said.
German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier has requested Taiwan to persuade Taiwanese manufacturers to help ease a shortage of semiconductor chips in the auto sector which is hampering its fledgling economic recovery from the pandemic.
Taiwanese ministry told that it had received requests from both the United States and the European Union through “diplomatic channels” late last year, as well as Japan this year.
“The Americans did express the expectation late last year,” the ministry said.
Automakers around the world are shutting assembly lines due to problems in the delivery of semiconductors, which in some cases have been exacerbated by the former Trump administration’s actions against key Chinese chip factories.
The shortage has affected Volkswagen, Ford Motor Co, Subaru Corp, Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor Co Ltd, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and other car makers.
“At the moment everyone is talking to each other through diplomatic channels, including TSMC. Everyone’s hands are tied with orders, but from the government’s perspective we will try to help as much as we can for our important allies,” said Taiwan ministry.
In 2020, auto chips accounted only for 3% of TSMC’s sales, lagging smartphones’ 48% and 33% for high performance chips.
In the fourth quarter, sales for TSMC’s auto chips jumped 27% from the previous quarter, but still only accounted for 3% of overall sales in the quarter.