In mid-November, GM revealed the microchip shortage means some of its most popular vehicles won’t have heated seats, sending shivers down the spines of car shoppers (especially those in cold climates). Now, Automotive News reports a less chilling update: GM will have dealers retroactively add heated and ventilated seats to vehicles sold without the feature, possibly by mid-2022.
The microchip shortage hasn’t only impacted the supply of vehicles on dealer lots, it’s also forced automakers to build vehicles without some features that require chips. To keep its production lines moving, GM reportedly nixed an Active Fuel Management system from its full-size trucks in March. Some GM vehicles were also built without an automatic stop-start feature. Besides the minor hit to fuel economy, these omissions didn’t much impact the driving experience.
The latest endangered features (heated and ventilated seats, as well as heated steering wheels) have a more direct effect on occupants. Initially, buyers of vehicles like the Chevrolet Silverado and Traverse were told they would have to forgo these features permanently in exchange for a small discount on the vehicle, up to $500. That, too, is changing.
Now, GM has a more optimistic update on the situation, giving shoppers hope that they won’t have to live with frozen backsides forever. The automaker says dealerships will be able to retroactively add heated and ventilated seats at no cost for the customer — but it likely won’t happen in time for winter.
GM reportedly estimates most vehicles will be able to be retrofitted with heated and ventilated seats in mid-2022. Initially, the automaker said shoppers who forgo the feature will get a discount of up to $500; however, following this development, the potential discount falls to just $50. Dealers won’t be able to add a heated steering wheel post-purchase, so the discount for vehicles without that feature will stay at $150.