Chip Shortage Forces Automakers to Remove Features
Revenue reports have shown that automakers have lost up to 21% in sales in Q3 when compared to 2020. In an attempt to combat falling revenue numbers due to the global semiconductor chip shortage, automakers are removing popular electronic features from their current lineup of vehicles.
It’s important for both consumers and OEM manufacturers to stay current with how major automakers are pivoting to meet skyrocketing demand in the middle of chip shortages. Many cars will now lack certain high-tech functions, reducing the number of chips required during production. For instance, a modern car can require over 2000 semiconductor chips to produce. Many of these chips control a single function, such as locking and unlocking a door. To develop a long-term solution, Nvidia has partnered with Mercedes and Volvo to produce a high-end chip that can control multiple functions, but this will take time to come to fruition.
List of Automakers Temporarily Removing Electronic Features:
- Touchscreens – The German luxury brand has temporarily removed touchscreen functionality from the center display. Affected cars are the 3-Series sedan, 4-Series coupe, convertible, and Gran Coupe, Z4, and all X5, X6, and X7 SUVs. Alternate input methods, such as iDrive and voice control are still available.
- Parking Assistant – Vehicles affected by the touchscreen removal and ordered with Parking Assistant will lose this function, which includes BMW’s Backup Assistant technology.
Image: Example of BMW’s Parking Assist technology in a 2020 5-Series. This function, as well as touchscreen, will be unavailable in cars ordered in 2021.
- Super Cruise – GM is temporarily removing “Super Cruise” from its flagship Escalade SUV, which enabled hands-free driving on some highways. Full release of Super Cruise to the CT4 and CT5 sedans is postponed until 2022.
- HD Radio – This HD radio option is being eliminated because GM was unable to source the chip-dependent hardware it needed to offer this feature. Multiple trims of the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500s and GMC Sierra 1500s, as well as 2022 model-year 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty pickup trucks, were affected by this change. Affected trims include: Silverado LS, RST, LT, Trail Boss, LTZ, and High Country and the SLE, SLT, Elevation, AT4, and Denali Sierra.
- Heated Seats and Steering Wheels – Most GM SUVs and pickups will lose their heated and ventilated seats. This includes the Chevrolet Silverado, Traverse, Blazer, and Equinox, and the GMC Sierra, Acadia, Canyon, and Terrain. Heated steering wheels will also be removed.
- Wireless Charging – This feature will not be available in certain vehicles. Affected models include 2021 Chevy Tahoe, Suburban, and GMC Yukon SUVs as well as the 2022 Buick Enclave, Chevy Traverse, and Cadillac XT5 and XT6.
- Premium Audio, LED Lights, and Charging pads – These features were removed earlier in 2021. These features included the removal of wireless smartphone charging, hands-free rear access systems, certain LED headlights, and some of their premium audio systems.
- Electric Steering Column Adjustment – Porsche has been in communication with people who have ordered cars with this feature and will be replacing them with a manual steering column adjustment. Customers will be able to retrofit the electric steering column as soon as the components are available again.
- Passenger-Seat Lumbar Support – In May 2021, Tesla quietly removed lumbar support from the front passenger seat options in the Model 3 and Model Y. CEO Elon Musk announced that company logs demonstrated very little usage of this feature, and argued it wasn’t worth the cost to keep installing it.
- USB Ports – USB-C ports in the rear of the center console of the Model 3 and Model Y were removed.
- Digital Gauges – French carmaker Peugeot replaced the digital gauges in the Peugeot 308 hatchback with old-school analog speedometers. This is the only model affected.
- Satellite Navigation – Ford will remove satellite navigation on some models but has announced that this is temporary, as drivers will still have the option to retrofit this feature.
- Satellite Navigation – Nissan will not install a navigation system in new vehicles and has not confirmed whether drivers will have the opportunity to add this feature later.
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