The BMW Group has entered into a trilateral agreement with U.S.-based semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries and Munich-based Inova Semiconductors, a microchip developer, to source chips for the iX and other upcoming BMW models. The move represents the strengthening of relations between an automaker and non-first-tier suppliers, and comes at a crucial time when demand for semiconductors, specifically for automotive applications, is at an all time high and expected to grow over the long term.
According to BMW, semiconductors are considered to be of strategic importance, and the agreement is representative of the company’s intent to promote supply chain resilience, regain supply-demand balance, and to foster innovation. The chips sourced from the agreement are specifically used for intelligent smart embedded LED (ISELED) technology, which is being introduced on the iX and is to be used in upcoming models.
“We are deepening our partnership with suppliers at key points in the supplier network and synchronising our capacity planning directly with semiconductor manufacturers and developers. This improves planning reliability and transparency around the volumes needed for everyone involved and secures our needs for the long term,” explained Dr. Andreas Wendt, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for purchasing and supplier network. “This pioneering agreement marks the next logical step in securing our supplies in an even more balanced and proactive manner going forward.”
GlobalFoundries is headquartered in Malta, New York and was founded in 2009 as the result of the divestiture of the manufacturing arm of AMD. The company employs a staff of 15,000 and was owned by the Mubadala Investment Company until it went public on the Nasdaq in late-October 2021.
“GlobalFoundries is committed to building stronger relationships with the automotive industry to deliver innovation and address the growing demand for feature-rich chips,” said Mike Hogan, senior vice president and general manager of automotive, industrial, and multi-market at GlobalFoundries. “This supply assurance agreement with the BMW Group and Inova demonstrates how the companies are partnering to develop innovative smart LED technology for the new BMW iX and to develop new technologies for the car of tomorrow.”
Founded in 1999, Inova Semiconductors is based in Munich, Germany and produces ISELED technology used for applications such as dynamic ambient lighting, LCD panel backlighting, external lighting, welcome lighting, and logo lighting, among more.
“This agreement directly with an OEM certainly marks new territory for us as a semiconductor manufacturer,” says Robert Kraus, CEO of Inova Semiconductors. “But we firmly believe this innovative approach to partnership throughout the production chain will help us achieve our objectives: In this way, we can secure supplies for our end customers and ensure high planning reliability throughout the long chip production cycles. It’s a real win-win.”—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]