June 16, 2006 – German firm Robert Bosch plans to invest 550 million euros (about US $694 billion) on a new 200mm semiconductor plant in Reutlingen, next to an existing 150mm site, to produce mainly on “smart power process” chips for the automotive industry — ICs combining signal processing and high-voltage circuits on a single chip to control high-performance actuators.
A pilot line will be set up in the 150mm fab early next year to begin the work, initially with 0.35-micron process technologies and later shifting to 0.18-micron processes. Construction of the new 40,000 sq. m site, including 7500 sq. m of cleanroom space, will begin this fall, with completion scheduled by sometime in 2009. Full capacity of about 30,000 wafers/month is expected to be achieved by 2016.
“We anticipate that the semiconductor market for automotive applications will grow by an average of 10% per year in the medium term,” stated Dr. Bernd Bohr, Bosch board member and chairman of the company’s automotive group.
Local paper Die Welt noted that the global market for electronics used in automotive applications is currently around 124 billion euros ($156.4 billion), but estimated to nearly double in the next decade to ?230 billion euros (about $290 billion).