Hyundai Motor was considering procuring home appliance IC controllers as the prolonged global chip shortage continues to affect automobile production, TheElec has learned.
The South Korean automobile giant was conducting tests to see whether these controllers can replace the ones it currently uses and procures from automotive chipmakers, sources said.
Home appliance IC controllers are more generally available than those provided by automotive chipmakers.
The chip that Hyundai wants to replace is used for accessory functions rather than the main system, which means replacement is possible, the sources said.
Most chips used in automobiles are exposed to extreme temperatures and are exposed to large external shocks, so they are required to follow higher reliability and safety standards such as those issued by the ISO compared to those used in consumer electronics and appliances.
However, chips used for headlamp and rear light are not required to follow the higher standards as they don’t affect the main function of the automobile.
Analyst firm IC Insights noted in a recent report that automotive IC shipment increased 30% last year from 2020, which is higher than the 22% year-on-year increase in total IC shipment. Demand for chips in automobiles was much higher than supply, which was causing a bottleneck, it said.
Hyundai had to suspend production at its factories in South Korea last year due to the shortage; it had also suspended production at its factory in Alabama earlier this year.
Meanwhile, according to Japanese media Nikkei, Toyota has also begun stocking up on general-use chips in case it faces difficulty in procuring automotive chips.
Nissan was also considering using a replacement chip for the chip that is currently custom orders.