GM to retrofit chips for heated seats, can’t do heated steering wheels

DETROIT — General Motors said Friday that vehicles sold without heated and ventilated seats due to the global semiconductor shortage will be eligible, likely starting in the middle of 2022, for a retrofit that activates those features.

The No. 1 U.S. automaker said it will cover the cost to retrofit new vehicles built without the chips needed for the heated and ventilated seats. It expects the chips to be available for the retrofits late in the second quarter of 2022, but the timeline could improve if chip supplies get better.

The global chip shortage over the past year has forced GM and other automakers to curtail vehicle production or in some cases build vehicles without certain features in a move to conserve chip supplies. GM and others have focused on protecting production of their most profitable vehicles through the shortage.

The action Friday came a week after the Detroit company had told U.S. dealers it was temporarily removing the heated and ventilated seat features on certain models due to the chip shortage.

GM told dealers in a memo obtained by Automotive News that it will discount vehicles missing heated or ventilated seats by $50, instead of up to $500 as it originally said. Heated steering wheels cannot be retrofitted, the memo said, so vehicles missing that feature will still be discounted by $150, Automotive News reported.

GM said other features that had been temporarily removed on certain vehicles due to the chip crisis but have since been reinstated included climate control digital temperature displays, side blind zone alert and Super Cruise driver-assist technology.

 

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