Friday, 19 November 2021 09:58

Detroit Dealers React to GM Taking Away Heated Seats and Steering Wheels

Written by Jamie L. LaReau, 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 dealers in metro Detroit face a new challenge to selling cars.

They must inform Michigan car buyers that there'll be no heated seats or heated steering wheels on many 2022 GM models, just as temperatures drop into the 40s and winter is weeks away.


“It’s not ideal. You want to have as many options available to folks as possible," said Paul Zimmermann, vice president and partner of Matick Chevrolet in Redford Township, MI, and Matick Toyota in Macomb. "I get why GM is doing it and I applaud them for finding do-arounds for the problem because 100% of zero is zero."


The problem is getting enough new cars to market amid a global shortage of semiconductor chips. The chips are used in a variety of car parts. The shortage has plagued U.S. car production since February and forced many automakers to build cars minus certain features.


On Nov. 12, GM said it would no longer offer driver and passenger heated seats and heated steering wheels as standard or optional content on certain 2022 model year cars and trims.


GM spokesman David Barnas said the measure is temporary until the chip supplies improve. He said GM tried to limit it and the automaker is looking at ways to add the heated seats and steering wheels to a car buyer's vehicle later when the parts become available.  


While heated seats and steering are desired in cold climates, dealers say the severe shortage of new cars has customers more accepting of losing certain features.


“We haven’t heard any complaints yet, but I’m sure we will," Zimmermann said. "But the reality of where we’re at right now is folks are somewhat desensitized, whether it’s inflation or lack of product across so many industries, from furniture to food. It’s becoming somewhat normal, unfortunately.”


This is not the first feature GM has...

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