Bits + chips
Japan vendor reportedly seeking to sell automotive IGBT production lines
Nuying Huang, Taipei; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES

A Japan-based vendor reportedly is looking for a buyer for its automotive IGBT manufacturing lines from among makers in Taiwan and China, according to industry sources.

The sources said that demand for automotive IGBT and MOSFET components has been growing rapidly on sales boom for electric vehicles, and supply has been tight. This has prompted semiconductor components makers in Taiwan and China to actively foray into the lucrative segment, but few of them have won validations from automakers.

Despite tight supply for automotive IGBT, a Japanese maker has been said to be planning to unload its IGBT production lines on the ground that the technological capabilities of makers across the Taiwan Strait have gradually matured, sharpening their competitiveness. To sidestep the upcoming competition, the Japanese vendor reportedly has decided to exit the IGBT production, the sources continued.

The sources also speculated that the Japanese vendor may be paving the way for a shift of focus to production of new generation SiC (silicon carbide) components, given that US-based electric vehicle maker Tesla has recently adopted upgraded SiC components for its Model S and Model X.

At the moment, makers in Taiwan and China are not yet able to provide stable shipments of automotive IGBT and MOSFET devices, let alone SiC components that require more sophisticated technology and involve much higher costs, the sources commented.

At the moment, IDM Infineon is the world's largest supplier of IGBT modules with a global market share of over 30%, followed by Fuji Electric and Mitsubishi with 10% each. As to IGBT components, the top-3 suppliers are Infineon, Fuji Electric and On Semi.

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