Intel says it will reserve Ireland chip factory capacity for automakers

By Stephen Nellis

Sept 7 (Reuters) - Intel Corp (INTC) on Tuesday said that it will reserve factory capacity at its semiconductor plant in Ireland for automakers and has created a program to help them transition to making chips in its factories.

Intel (INTC), the biggest maker of processor chips for PCs and data centers, in March said it planned to open up its chip factories for outsiders to use.

Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger told Reuters in April that the company wanted to start producing chips for automakers within six to nine months to help alleviate a shortage that has disrupted vehicle production around the world.

It is unclear whether the latest announcement means Intel (INTC) will meet that goal.

Gelsinger was due to outline details of the new program on Tuesday at the IAA automotive show in Germany. The "Intel Foundry Services Accelerator" is aimed at helping automakers learn to make chips using what Intel (INTC) calls its "Intel (INTC) 16" chip manufacturing technology and later move to its "Intel (INTC) 3" and "Intel (INTC) 18A" technologies.

Those manufacturing processes would be far more advanced than most of the processes used in the automotive industry today. Intel (INTC) said that several automakers and key suppliers - including BMW AG, Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and Bosch - had expressed support for its programs, but an Intel (INTC) spokesman declined to confirm whether any had committed to becoming customers.

Intel (INTC) views automakers as a key strategic priority. Gelsinger was expected to say Tuesday that the company believes chips will make up 20% of the cost of vehicles by 2030, a five-fold increase from 4% of the cost in 2019. (Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; editing by Richard Pullin)

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