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The auto industry has had a few stressful years with the pandemic, supply chain issues, high fuel prices, and the chip shortage. The chip shortage has significantly affected several automakers who have had to figure out ways to continue production without the chips. General Motors announced in 2021 that it would be dropping its heated seats due to the chip shortage. However, the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 could finally give customers the heated seats they should have had.

General Motors opted to save its chips for profitable models

A dark colored 2022 GMC Sierra  driving alongside a lake and mountains.
2022 GMC Sierra Denali | Creative Commons

GM said the chip shortage would make it hard for them to offer some of its top-rated features, especially its heated seats. The company decided to save its chips for its highest-priced and more profitable models.

However, heated seats are some of the most popular options among buyers. Experts warned that choosing to forego the heated seating options may see buyers avoiding the manufacturer’s vehicles in favor of those with the feature.

Aside from its heated seat feature, heated steering wheels were also not given a second thought, and they remain unavailable for most vehicles in the 2022 model year. According to the Detroit Free Press, GM is the only automaker that has opted to eliminate heated seats and steering wheels because of the ongoing chip shortage. 

Automakers like Ford decided to continue making cars but stored them until they had access to enough chips to finish their work on the vehicles. BMW decided to stop offering touchscreens in several of their cars, while Nissan removed navigation from several models. On the other hand, Mercedes-Benz made cars without LED lights or premium audio.

Consumers are getting heated seats retrofitted into their 2022 GMC Sierra

Despite GM deciding to save its chips for profitable models, there’s still hope for ordinary consumers who won’t have to live with frozen backsides for long. The manufacturer said dealerships would be able to retroactively add heated seats to vehicles like the 2022 GMC Sierra and the Sierra 1500 Limited trucks at no cost to the customer.

According to Cars, the automaker estimates that most retrofits will occur mid-2022. GM initially reported that consumers would have to forego the heated seats and steering wheels for a discount not exceeding $500. Following this new development, the discount drops to about $50.

GM began making the GMC Sierra in 2021 without heated seats to ensure it maintained an adequate supply of the model despite a severe shortage of chips. The company used the same strategy with the Chevy Silverado 1500 and other vehicles on its Cadillac, Buick, and Chevy portfolio.

Owners of the 2022 GMC Sierra are advised to take their cars into the dealership for a retrofit once the parts become available. Failure to do so within the warranty period risks losing out on the retrofit. GM will contact the drivers of the affected vehicles once the parts become available.

There is hope on the horizon for the chip situation

When the pandemic happened, people were pushed into their homes. To pass the time, they bought video games, consoles, computers, TVs, and other electronics that require semiconductor chips, sending the electronic industry into overdrive.

Once it was safe to resume production, the auto industry ran into a snafu. Chip suppliers had already been making a killing in other sectors and weren’t willing to give automakers discounts. The situation worsened when people stopped buying cars as they saw no need to due to the pandemic, which led to a price hike in vehicles.

However, the chip shortage situation appears to improve as suppliers have put down $146 billion. Additionally, companies like Samsung and Intel plan on building chip plants to end the shortage. The government’s $52 billion boost will also go a long way in ensuring things return to normal in the auto world.


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