Analog chips – poised to change into the subsequent huge risk to automakers?

Analog chips – poised to change into the subsequent huge risk to automakers?


The capability for analog chips is anticipated to develop, however it
is unlikely to be enough to fulfill the elevated demand for chips
in automobiles; due to this fact, the availability could tighten once more across the finish of

The automotive semiconductor provide tightness will seemingly ease
in 2022 and within the first half of 2023. Nevertheless, there’s a threat of
stress factors build up once more on the finish of 2023 or early 2024.
In response to IHS Markit’s evaluation, new issues are rising over
the availability of analog chips. After microcontrollers (MCU) in 2021,
analog chips are prone to change into the primary constraint for automobile
manufacturing for the subsequent three years.

The 2 main chip classes which were most affected by
shortages are MCUs and analog chips. Earlier in 2021, MCUs obtained
all the eye. The proprietary nature of MCUs made it just about
unattainable to have twin sources of MCUs for an digital management
unit (ECU) due to software program and pinout variations at a minimal.
MCUs are manufactured on course of nodes usually above 40
nanometers (nm), with a few of them now beginning to be processed at
28 nm. As reminiscence and system-on-chips (SoCs) have captured extra of
the semiconductor market share, funding has been concentrated
extra on the superior nodes to help development in these areas and
much less has been centered on mature course of nodes.

There may be an ongoing pattern towards centralization of the
electrical/digital (E/E) structure, and it will end in a
smaller variety of MCUs per automobile. Nevertheless, migrating to new
architectures and smaller course of nodes will not be helpful for all
forms of chips. For instance, demand for analog chips will proceed
to extend independently of recent E/E architectures since they’re
a necessary a part of many automobile techniques. A whole bunch of analog chips
are required per automobile. All the next require analog chips: energy
administration of each ECU and SoC, sign conditioning for sensors,
bus transceivers for each ECU, drivers for every electrical motor (up
to 100 in luxurious automobiles), LED lamps, shows, radar transceivers,
high-end audio techniques, and radio frequency (RF) entrance ends.

Now that the availability of MCUs is in a greater form, analog chip
provide is rising as a problem. Analog chips usually use mature
chip processes, e.g., 90 nm to 300 nm. There are technical and
industrial explanation why these will proceed to be produced at mature
progress nodes and never at modern course of nodes.
Sadly, the demand for analog chips can also be rising for
cellphones—for the RF front-end, the sensor processing, the
high-end audio, and the contactless fee, to call just a few.
Contemplating the expansion in automobile segments and propulsion combine, the
common variety of analog chips per automobile is anticipated to extend by
26% in 2023 in contrast with 2021. This development will be primarily
attributed to the continuing electrification pattern.

There’s a front-end capability deficit for mature course of nodes
as a lot of the funding goes towards extra superior nodes.
In response to our evaluation, out of the full capital expenditure
introduced in 2021 and 2022, 86% is directed at superior
applied sciences requiring only a few chips within the automobile, whereas solely 12%
is for the mature course of, which is used to provide greater than 90%
of the chips within the automobile. With the rise in demand for analog
chips, regardless of the change in E/E architectures, this
imbalance in introduced capital expenditure may trigger future
bottlenecks for analog chips and different legacy nodes.

Brief-term outlook for mild automobile

The anticipated scarcity in analog chip provide may have a adverse
influence on mild automobile manufacturing. Nevertheless, in an optimistic
state of affairs, a decline in demand for analog chips by different industries
may end in an improved foundry capability allocation for the
automotive business. Underneath this state of affairs, it’s also assumed that
the output of analog fabs will proceed to extend at an identical
tempo within the first quarter of 2022 by way of the third quarter of 2022
earlier than slowing down. In such a state of affairs, analog chip manufacturing
capability added per quarter will peak by the fourth quarter of

Regular demand for analog chips from different industries may
stabilize the capability allocation for the automotive business. This
is taken into account a conservative state of affairs. This state of affairs additionally
anticipates the output of analog fabs to extend at a standard tempo
from early 2022. The quantity of analog manufacturing capability added per
quarter will flatten by second-quarter 2023. Within the median
state of affairs, the estimated year-on-year enhance in analog chip
manufacturing can be 18% in 2022 and 13% in 2023.

To investigate the influence on automobile manufacturing, this capability is
transformed into the utmost variety of automobiles that might be in-built
2022 and 2023. This reveals a possible ceiling for automobile manufacturing of
round 24 million items per quarter from the third quarter of 2022
onward and a decline in automobile manufacturing from the top of 2023 to
early 2024. Predominantly, this may be attributed to the anticipated
development within the variety of chips per automobile within the subsequent few years. In
comparability with 2021, the common variety of analog chips per automobile is
going to be a lot increased in 2023. The accessible additional capability is
inadequate to fulfill the quick enhance of analog chips in automobiles,
pushed by ongoing developments corresponding to electrification and the next
variety of infotainment and superior driver-assistance techniques
(ADAS) options.

The semiconductor chip capability will develop, however hardly quick
sufficient to fulfill the elevated demand for analog chips in automobiles. After
MCUs in 2021, analog chips are prone to change into the primary constraint
for automobile manufacturing within the subsequent three years. The variety of
analog chips per automobile will increase sooner than MCUs regardless of
propulsion sort, gross sales section, and E/E structure. These analog
chips are additionally in excessive demand in lots of different industries such because the
smartphone and client electronics industries.

Present capital expenditure and capability trajectory present that
conditions would possibly enhance for the automotive business in 2022 and
early 2023. A provide tightness could also be fashioned towards the top of 2023
or early 2024. That is dependent upon a number of parameters, corresponding to
capability development for mature nodes, the analog fab capability
allocation for the automotive business, and demand for analog chips
by different industries. Within the coming years, contemplating the efforts
by varied gamers within the automotive ecosystem, there might be extra
investments for the enlargement of analog capability to elevate the
potential ceiling for automobile manufacturing. Automakers are engaged on
establishing higher visibility to the semiconductor provide chain by
forming extra direct relationships with foundries. This might outcome
in improved capability allocation for the automotive business and
improved automobile manufacturing capability in 2023 and past.

Jeremie Bouchaud – Director, Autonomy, E/E & Semiconductor, IHS
Hrishikesh S – Analysis Analyst, Automotive, IHS Markit

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September 2022