In a global semiconductor shortage that has highlighted dependence on foreign players, a Volkswagen board member, Markus Duesmann, has said that Europe needs to stump up cash to boost its chip industry.
One way to achieve this, he said, could be funding programmes modelled after an existing plan to boost Europe’s battery cell technology under a scheme called Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI).
Germany on Wednesday said European countries were planning to support the local production of technology hardware, including processors and semiconductors, via an IPCEI, with targeted aid that could result in investments of up to 50 billion euros ($60 billion).
However, the exact level of investment and the question of who will foot the bill have not been specified.
Global automakers have been caught off guard by a shortage of crucial semiconductors in the wake of a rapid recovery of the automotive market, highlighting the need to cut dependency on Asian manufacturers.
Volkswagen has doubled its budget for software development, a key area to tackle the challenges of autonomous driving, Duesmann said, adding this was one of the drivers to create the Car.Software.Org unit with 5,000 employees.
The company also owns a 40% stake in Pittsburgh-based self-driving startup Argo AI, with Ford owning an equal share, but Duesmann said pursuing both paths was perfectly in line with the carmaker’s strategy and product portfolio.