Heated seats will be happening after all.
The semiconductor chip shortage crisis took a turn for the worst earlier this month when GM announced some of its most popular vehicles, including trucks and SUVs, will be built without heated and ventilated seats. That will make for a very cold winter for thousands of new 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 owners. Only the fully-loaded High Country and Denali trims would retain them. Some additional vehicles slated to lose those features as well are the Equinox, Colorado and Canyon, and Cadillac XT4.
Today, however, there's very good news. GM has figured out how to ensure these vehicles will keep heated and ventilated seats by way of a retrofit process.
The announcement has been confirmed to dealers nationwide and the automaker will cover the costs. If all goes to plan, the necessary parts for the retrofitting will become available sometime in the second business quarter of next year. For the time being, GM is still building these vehicles without the chips.
Another popular feature, heated steering wheels, sadly won't be part of the retrofit program. They will remain unavailable for the majority of 2022 GM vehicles. Heated and ventilated seats aren't the only features GM has had to cut due to a lack of chips. The start/stop system, designed to help improve fuel efficiency, also replies on chips and is now absent in many new GM trucks and SUVs.
Buyers received a voucher for compensation. For a brief time, the Super Cruise driver-assist technology, the climate control digital temperature display, and side blind-zone alert were removed but have since returned. The ongoing global chip shortage is not expected to end entirely next year. Many industry analysts and automakers predict it'll carry over into 2023.
One of the key lessons carmakers have learned is not to rely on overseas supply chains. These thumbnail-sized chips are produced in Asia. The plan going forward is to setup North American suppliers to help ensure the consistent flow of these crucial chips to assembly lines.