Boom for automotive microcontrollers despite shortages

August 16, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
Boom for automotive microcontrollers despite shortages
32bit designs provide three quarters of the automotive microcontroller market this year says IC Insights as the overall market grows 23 percent

The automotive microcontroller market is set to grow 23 percent this year despite the shortages that have shut down car production lines says US market research firm IC Insights.

At 40 percent of the total microcontroller market, the growth of automotive controllers is a key factor in the semiconductor market. This has seen a rollercoaster in recent years, climbing 12 per cent in 2017 and just 1 percent in 2018. Global recession and Covid-19 pandemic hit the industry further.

Ramping up deliveries of microcontrollers and other semiconductors produced on legacy 200mm wafer fab lines with less-than leading-edge processes, lagged behind the rebound-driven upturn, says IC Insights. Despite this, and with rising average selling prices (ASP), automotive MCU sales are forecast to grow 23 percent this year to a record-high level of $7.6 billion, driven by the growth in higher value 32bit system on chip devices.

This will be followed by strong increases of 14 percent in 2022 and 16 percent in 2023 says the market research in IC Insights’ Mid-Year Update to The McClean Report 2021.

The forecast shows the ASP for all 32bit MCUs rising 13 percent in 2021 to $0.72 after dropping by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of -4.4% between 2015 and 2020. The report points to the shutdowns in the US earlier in year at NXP and Samsung and a fire at a Renesas fab in Japan that also hit capacity. Foundry giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) said in July that it was increasing its 3Q21 wafer fab capacity by 60 percent for automotive microcontrollers compared to production a year earlier and 30 percent higher than pre-pandemic levels.

The 32bit market accounts for $5.8bn of revenue this year with $1.3bn for 16bit devices and $441m for 8bit.

Automotive infotainment (entertainment and information systems that retrieve digital maps, identify locations, and access data from the Internet and satellite transmissions) is expected to account for 10 percent


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