General Motors Will Lose Customers
General Motors (GM) is ditching Apple CarPlay and Android Auto from their electric vehicles (EV), beginning with the 2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV. For years, the duo navigation systems have been the standard for big manufacturers due to user satisfaction. People wanted a seamless infotainment interface and integrating the smartphone software was the solution.
Google is involved in developing the new built-in system, which GM stated will offer more than CarPlay and Android Auto and will allow smartphones to be connected via Bluetooth only. This means juggling two devices, GM’s native system and the user’s smartphone. When GM broke the news in March, the reaction was negative, leaving a bad taste for many who do not want to rely solely on Google maps for navigation or use the in-vehicle apps.
Since becoming the norm, many buyers say their next vehicle needs to have CarPlay in order for it to be a contender. Due to its popularity, aftermarket brands offer head units and plug-ins which support CarPlay and Android Auto for older vehicles.
The adoption of the new system gives GM the ability to collect more consumer data, since it is the only interface in the vehicle.
According to GM, the drastic decision has to do with controlling all the vehicle applications, as opposed to supporting third parties and to maintain harmony with its automated navigation driving features. Plus, GM does not want to isolate anyone who doesn’t have a smartphone.
Chief Executive Mary Barbra projected about $25 billion for GM in annual subscription revenue by 2030.
BMW was the last manufacturer to make headlines for subscription services. They were charging other countries a subscription fee for heated seats. In the past, features like these were paid in full when a new vehicle was purchased, because it was an added physical feature. Lexus similarly charges an annual fee to use the remote engine start feature, unlike some brands which physically add it and charge no fees to use it on the key fob.
GM is taking a huge risk and time will tell if it pays off, but it looks bleak. EV brands, such as Tesla and Rivian, do not support CarPlay or Android Auto, since they have their own systems. It is important to note Lucid Motors, another high-end luxury EV brand, did not initially support CarPlay and Android Auto, but in March made an OTA (Over the Air) update making the feature accessible and standard.
Consumers in the Tesla community have found third party workarounds to use CarPlay. This further proves how much demand there is for CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
Xavier Estrada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.