Tuesday, 23 November 2021 21:06

GM Tells Dealers it Will Offer Heated Seats on More 2022 Vehicles After All

Written by Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press
2021 Chevrolet Tahoe High Country interior. 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe High Country interior. Mark Phelan/Detroit Free Press


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General Motors pulled a multimillion-dollar rabbit out of its hat Nov. 19, telling its dealers it has figured out a way to resume offering two popular features on its vehicles.

The move could keep some of Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick and GMC’s most loyal and affluent buyers from defecting to other automakers.


Starting in the first half of 2022, the automaker’s dealers will be able to activate heated and ventilated front seats on vehicles built without the features due to a shortage of the computer chips that control them.


GM had initially said the shortage would keep it from offering the immensely popular features on the majority of its 2022 vehicles. It planned to save its limited supply of chips for the highest priced, most profitable models. GM is building vehicles without the chips.


GM now expects to have enough chips to have dealers retrofit them beginning late in the second quarter of 2022, making the features available.


Heated steering wheels, another popular feature, aren’t part of the program. They remain unavailable on most model year 2022 vehicles.


Heated seats are customers’ favorite option, according to product planning consultant AutoPacific. Their absence could drive Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC and Buick customers to other brands.


“Years ago, heated/ventilated seats and a heated steering wheel were considered perks but today’s buyers are increasingly prioritizing them as nonnegotiable,” said AutoPacific Manager of Industry Analysis Paul Waatti.


In a survey by car-shopping website Autotrader this year, buyers and car dealers both rated “creature comforts” like heated and ventilated seats No. 1 among “factors when thinking about your next vehicle.”


Another trip to the dealer


On top of that, vehicles with the features command higher resale prices, pointed out Marcus Hudson of financial consultant Calderone Advisory Group in Birmingham, MI.


GM will now sell vehicles with...

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