Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says microchip bill could turn state into auto chip hub

After the semiconductor bill was passed by Congress last week, Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Michigan hopes to become a hub for microchip makers supplying the auto industry.

Whitmer, in an interview on Monday Automotive Newssaid the state’s “high concentration” of engineers and its automotive supply chain should make it an attractive option for chip makers to determine where to build factories in the US.

“This is an important opportunity for us to show the world that we can lead,” said the first-time Democratic governor. “Michigan has a unique set of strengths.”

Both houses of Congress last week passed the Chips and Science Act, which includes $52 billion for US chip makers and tax credits designed to boost domestic production of semiconductors. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill into law.

Of that funding, $2 billion is earmarked for the production of older, “mature node” semiconductors used by the auto industry. Global auto manufacturing has been plagued by shortages of those chips, with more than 13 million vehicles being removed from automakers’ production schedules since early 2021, according to an estimate by AutoForecast Solutions.

“If you’re driving around Michigan and see some of these beautiful, brand-new cars sitting there waiting for chips, it’s a powerful reminder that we need to bring this advanced manufacturing to our country.” Got to bring it back,” Whitmer said.

She said Michigan is taking a “whole-government approach” to attract chip makers, which includes investing in infrastructure and education.

The state wants “to make sure that an auto chip maker will see that Michigan is an unprecedented place to build a fab and start producing these chips,” Whitmer said. “We have an environment that’s starving.”

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Whitmer said he has spoken with the leadership of General Motors and Ford Motor Company about the chips bill, adding that officials were “thrilled” to see it passed.

“EVs require a lot more chips than vehicles with internal combustion engines,” he said. “It’s an important component of this transition we want to make.”