(Add executive comments on EV tax incentives)
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor’s global chief operating officer said on Wednesday the South Korean automaker wants to develop its own chips to reduce reliance on chipmakers.
A global shortage of semiconductors, triggered partly by surging demand for laptops and other electronic products during the pandemic, has shuttered some auto production lines globally this year.
Hyundai temporarily suspended some factories, but the company’s global COO Jose Munoz told reporters the worst has passed for the industry chip shortage, adding Hyundai had the “toughest months” in August and September.
“The (chip) industry is reacting very, very fast,” Munoz said, adding Intel is investing a lot of money to expand capacity.
“But also in our case, we want to be able to develop our own chips within the group, so we are a little bit less dependent in a potential situation like this,” he said.
“This takes a lot of investment and time, but this is something we’re working on.”
He said the company’s parts affiliate Hyundai Mobis would play a key role in the in-house development plan.
He also said Hyundai Motor aims to deliver vehicles at the level of its original business plan in the fourth quarter, and offset some of its production losses next year.
Along with Toyota and Tesla, Hyundai is among a handful of automakers which increased global sales despite the chip shortage.
Hyundai decided not to cut orders during the pandemic, after seeing the Asian markets recover more strongly than expected, Munoz said.
Munoz, president of Hyundai Motor North America, said the company is on track to produce electric cars in the United States in 2022, and is looking into both enhancing its existing factory in Alabama and increasing its production capacity.
He said the U.S. government needs to extend a proposed $4,500 tax credit incentive to U.S. electric vehicles made at non-union factories as well as union ones.
“American workers are the same,” he said. “We would like this to be equal for all.”
U.S. factories of Tesla and foreign automakers such as Hyundai and Toyota Motor are not unionized. (Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Additional reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Jan Harvey)