Major chipmaker Renesas Electronics Corp. is considering undertaking some semiconductor production at a plant in Ehime Prefecture following a fire in March at its main plant northeast of Tokyo, company sources said Tuesday.
Renesas plans to temporarily move output of chip products to its Saijo plant in a bid to recover production as early as possible amid a global semiconductor shortage that has hit the auto industry hard.
The company is also asking a Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturer to produce chips for it as part of efforts to meet demand, the sources said.
It said in late March that it expected to resume full-scale production at the main plant in Naka, Ibaraki Prefecture, in June at the earliest.
Renesas was the second-largest provider of microcontrollers — chip products installed in vehicles to control power units and other devices — in 2020 with a 17.0% global market share, after Dutch chip maker NXP Semiconductors NV at 17.1%, according to data provider Omdia.
Market analysts have expressed concern about the economic impact of the Renesas plant fire.
Analysts at Nomura Securities Co. said a lack of microcontrollers due to the fire could cut global auto production by around 7%, or 1.6 million units, in the three months through June.
Production by Japanese automakers is likely to decline by 1.2 million vehicles worldwide, possibly shrinking Japan's real gross domestic product by 0.7% in the April-June period, they said.