Yesterday’s good news from strategically important Japanese automotive chip maker Renesas did not last long. Now for the bad news: Their automotive microcontroller chips will be strictly rationed when they eventually ship. This being Japan, it is said more politely: Renesas is “thinking about the development of voluntary rules for major automakers,” as Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun puts it.
The paper expects a “severe shortage of electronic parts” fort this summer, especially in the area of engine and brake control. The shortage could “eventually spread to other industries as well.” Auto majors Toyota , Nissan and Honda will devise a system to share the limited supply of microcontrollers, says the Yomiuri.
Moving a whole corporation from Windows to Mac sounds trivial compared to switching automotive chip suppliers. “I see too many problems trying to replace these devices,” Matteo Fini, senior analyst at IHS Automotive, told CNET. Engine control units are designed to match the characteristics of a particular power train, Automakers use different programming languages, the computer chips have a different pin-out.