Earlier this year, GM announced its boneheaded decision to ditch CarPlay in all of its future EVs, opting for a partnership with Google instead. The company has received an incredible amount of backlash since that announcement, and unsurprisingly, GM dealerships are also none too happy about the move.
A new report from the Detroit Free Press rounds up comments and concerns from GM dealers who are still grappling with GM’s surprise announcement. One source “in close contact with multiple GM dealers” explained that the “risk of failure is very high” for the automaker to abandon CarPlay.
Despite announcing the move publicly in March, GM dealers haven’t received any communication from the company about what exactly is happening:
“CarPlay’s not broken. Why fix it?” asked a source in close contact with multiple GM dealers and who requested anonymity for business concerns. “The risk of failure is very high.”
“I don’t even know the name of (GM’s) new system, much less what benefits our customers can expect,” the dealer source said. “Nobody has had any communication from GM. What am I supposed to tell my customers?”
“The new system can’t just work,” the dealer source said. “It has to be the best in the market. It’s got to be better than CarPlay.”
That same dealer source also questioned the timing of GM’s move, killing CarPlay as it simultaneously plans to ramp up its focus on EVs with its Ultium EV architecture this year.
“Why are we doing this with the launch of our most important new vehicles? Shouldn’t all the resources devoted to developing it have been spent on launching the actual vehicles?” the source said to the Detroit Free Press. “There’s an infinite number of ways this could go bad.”
Other GM dealers cited in the report expressed similar concerns, including worries that the move could cost dealers and salespeople money. GM, of course, is hoping that this move will boost its bottom line with an increased focus on subscription revenue. The company is targeting $20 billion to $25 billion in annual revenue from subscriptions by 2030.
GM dealers and salespeople are concerned the change will cost them money, too. Complaints about a vehicle or its features can reduce payments they get for customer satisfaction, potentially costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“We would hate for there to be a hiccup in the launch of these key new products,” one said. “We have a lot riding on this.”
There’s only so much I can write about this move, but I’ll reiterate my thoughts once more in hopes Mary Barra comes across this story.
This is a change GM will regret. It’s a change that reeks of greed and shortsightedness. And it comes as automakers like Ford are doubling down on their decisions to support CarPlay.
In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Ford CEO Jim Farley said:
Seventy percent of our Ford customers in the U.S. are Apple customers. Why would I go to an Apple customer and say ‘good luck!’ That, like, doesn’t seem customer-centric. And Apple does a really good job. So our philosophy is different. Our philosophy is we’re going to make the best Android, CarPlay experience you can imagine.
We’re going to put on top of it a really good customization opportunity for the customer, so they can kind of get what they want out of the interior experience. And let’s go ship great productivity, partial autonomy, safety and security software. That’s where the data off the car makes a difference and we can be different.
Farley gets it and understands how important CarPlay is to buyers. GM and Mary Barra clearly don’t.
Tesla and Rivian are the two other major holdouts in adopting CarPlay, but at least they’ve spent years developing their respective infotainment systems.
I have zero faith in GM’s ability to create something that will even remotely match the reliability, familiarity, and feature set of CarPlay.
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