For the past two years, the massive semiconductor shortage has affected the global automotive industry, resulting in extended delays for most car manufacturers. Key among the many features affected due to this shortage is the touchscreen infotainment system, forcing brands to look at different ways to get around the problem.
Speaking to Autocar India, Skoda Auto Volkswagen India’s managing director Piyush Arora said the group has been working on finding other ways to counteract the chip shortage, especially with respect to the touchscreen.
- Carmarkers are redesigning infotainment system
- Redesign, however, still a time consuming process
Skoda changed from a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system to an 8-inch unit across the entire Kushaq and Slavia range. This was possible since both the cars used a freestanding design. However, their Volkswagen siblings, the Taigun and Virtus – as we reported in our July 2022 issue of Autocar India – proved to be a problem since their infotainment system is integrated into the dashboard.
Volkswagen's plan to fight chip shortage
Redesigning a dashboard to fit a new part and making new moulds is expensive and time consuming, especially for a relatively smaller volume and potentially a short-term requirement. The company could revert to the 10-inch ‘Skoda Play’ system at a later stage when semiconductor supplies improve.
Commenting on VW India working on finding alternate ways to get around the chip shortage, Arora said, “It’s not only alternate products, but we are also looking at alternate chips and fast-tracking the approval process of alternate chips.”
Interestingly, while earlier there was an overall shortage of chips, industry sources now say that it is only for the older and larger 40 nanometer ones and the newer, smaller and faster chips have enough supply. However, switching existing components over to newer chips does require time, as Arora acknowledged, “The process of developing the same product and revalidating that with the different chip will take its own lead time of at least 18-24 months,” he added.
Thus, as it stands, while the auto industry isn’t out of the woods as yet, an end to the situation is appearing on the horizon.