This undated photograph offered by American Honda Motor Co. exhibits a trim title on a Honda Civic. Within the trim lineup, Touring trims are usually extra loaded with options than entry-level LX trims.
Courtesy of American Honda Motor Co. through AP
Most individuals are conscious that automakers have felt the brunt of the worldwide microchip scarcity, leading to understocked dealerships at a time when client demand is excessive. However there’s one other much less well-known development that may additional complicate the method of shopping for a brand new car. In an effort to expedite manufacturing, some automakers are limiting, or have stopped providing, sure well-liked options that they’ll’t produce due to the microchip scarcity.
These lacking options, which vary from heated seats to touchscreens to USB ports, would possibly slip previous buyers’ discover till it’s too late and so they’ve already made a buy. On this article, Edmunds’ consultants take a deeper dive into why that is occurring, what options may be lacking, and what you want to know earlier than taking supply of your subsequent car.
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?
Semiconductor chips are the brains of electronics. They management options corresponding to infotainment methods, superior driver aids and even heated seats. Passenger autos can have anyplace from a number of dozen microchips in common vehicles to over 100 in high-end luxurious autos that come geared up with extra know-how. If you multiply that by the tens of hundreds of thousands of autos produced yearly world wide, you’re speaking billions of microchips for a single trade.
The COVID-19 pandemic is largely the primary cause for the microchip scarcity. Orders for chips had been canceled when automakers quickly shut down factories on the top of the pandemic. On high of that, the demand for chips elevated on the identical time in different industries as a result of folks had been staying at dwelling and wanted further electronics for work and play. The surge of microchip demand began when automakers restarted manufacturing, leaving chip producers unable to maintain up. Moreover, there have been provide chain points with automakers unable to supply sure components or supplies, compounded by an absence of transport containers and overloaded transport ports.
WHAT ITEMS ARE BEING REMOVED?
The lacking options fluctuate relying on the model, though some lucky automakers have been much less affected by the chip scarcity and aren’t eliminating options. Others are reducing car manufacturing numbers on sure fashions to keep away from deleting options on extra well-liked fashions. Normal Motors has been hit onerous by the scarcity, leading to numerous lacking options on a number of fashions.
Automotive Information reported in November that almost all GM SUVs and vehicles won’t include heated seats and steering wheels. It will clearly upset consumers in chilly climates. Ventilated seats are additionally affected. Luckily, GM says it could possibly retrofit heated and ventilated seats to autos lacking them for free of charge beginning in mid-2022, in accordance with a Reuters report.
One other massive automaker, BMW, has eliminated a preferred characteristic from a number of fashions: touchscreen performance on the infotainment screens. The iDrive infotainment system can nonetheless be managed with the iDrive controller, nevertheless. Earlier this 12 months, Tesla eliminated rear USB-C charging ports and wi-fi charging pad performance from its checklist of options in Mannequin 3s and Ys.
Mercedes-Benz has been pressured to delete some options as nicely. There have been experiences of sure fashions lacking options corresponding to specific audio methods, massaging seats, head-up shows and wi-fi charging pads. Nissan has additionally felt the impact of the chip scarcity, and the automaker didn’t set up navigation methods on hundreds of autos earlier this 12 months.
ARE YOU BEING CHARGED FOR MISSING FEATURES?
The nice information is that consumers shouldn’t be charged for options lacking from their new autos. As an alternative, producers are issuing credit to consumers of autos with lacking options. For instance, BMW will give consumers who are lacking touchscreen performance a credit score of $500 to spend on different choices.
GM is providing a credit score of $150 to $500 for autos with out heated steering wheels and heated and ventilated seats. It’s not clear if different automakers are additionally issuing credit, however there’ll probably be some type of compensation or retrofitting when provide is accessible once more.
HOW TO TELL WHAT’S MISSING WHEN SHOPPING
Dealerships and their gross sales workers ought to concentrate on autos they obtain with lacking options and needs to be informing consumers accordingly. However it’s not a positive factor. Due to this fact, you’ll want to do a little analysis earlier than taking supply of the car you obtain. Examine dealership and producer web sites and even the window sticker for the total checklist of options your car ought to have and make sure it in individual or with a salesperson earlier than signing off.
Edmunds says: It’s troublesome to predict when the components scarcity will finish, however within the meantime, be certain that to establish your must-have options when looking for a brand new automotive and double-check that they’re on the car on the time of buy.