Friday, 19 November 2021 19:16

GM Partners with Suppliers to Find a Chips Fix in North America

Written by Jamie L. LaReau, Detroit Free Press
GM trucks sit in a gated parking lot across from Bishop International Airport in Flint, MI, on Aug. 11. GM trucks sit in a gated parking lot across from Bishop International Airport in Flint, MI, on Aug. 11. Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press


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General Motors may have a solution to its semiconductor chip problem.

The automaker is working with seven chip supplier partners on new designs of chips that would be capable of handling more than the current chips and would be made in North America, GM President Mark Reuss said Nov. 18 at an investor conference.


Most chips are currently made in Taiwan. The auto industry has been battling a severe shortage of the chips, which are used in a variety of vehicle parts and personal electronics, since February. The chip makers can't meet demand after consumers started buying more personal electronics during the pandemic. 


Reuss said GM and its chip suppliers are working on three new families of microcontrollers that will lower the number of chips by 95% on future vehicles. The suppliers GM is working with are: Qualcomm, STM, STSMC, Renaissance, On Semi, NXP and Infineon, Reuss said.


"That's quite a list," Reuss said. "We're going to lead the industry with this. And this will drive quality and predictability. We really expect much of that investment will flow to the United States and Canada."


Reuss made the comments at Barclays Global Automotive Conference which was held virtually. He said new microcontrollers will consolidate the functions that individual chips handle now and that will cut costs, but still deliver quality. He foresees making as many as 10 million microcontroller units a year.


Like many automakers, GM has had a rough go of it this year due to the chip shortage. It has had to cancel some production shifts, idle some factories for weeks and build vehicles just shy of all the parts needed, then park them to await arrival of the parts. Its second-half vehicle production was down about...

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