The global chip shortage has claimed another victim, as GM says it is no longer able to fit wireless smartphone charging to some vehicles.
As a result of the shortage, the charging system cannot be selected by buyers of some new SUVs from Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC. This situation follows GM's pulling of HD radio from some vehicles, along with a fuel management model for pickup trucks, and the automatic stop-start system designed to save fuel and reduce emissions in slow traffic.
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First reported by GM Authority, the chip shortage means wireless phone charging can no longer be fitted to the LT Z71, Premier and High Country trim levels of the 2021 Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, as well as the SLT, AT4 and Denali trims of the 2021 GMC Yukon and Yukon XL. It was later added by The Verge that the feature is also unavailable on certain 2022 versions of the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverses, as well as the Cadillac XT5s and XT6s.
Buyers who have ordered these vehicles with wireless charging will instead receive a $75 credit against their purchase, along with the $50 credit offered for orders missing HD radio. It is expected that wireless phone charging pads will be missing from the affected vehicles through to the end of their current model year. Although not a critical function, wireless phone charging has become increasingly common in vehicles over the last couple of years. It saves the need for using a cable, is more convenient, and often encourages drivers to place their phone on the charging pad, keeping it out of sight – and crucially out of their hands – while driving.
The global chip shortage is having a major impact on vehicle productioniStock
The global chip shortage began in 2020 and was first due to suppliers and manufacturers being affected by staff falling ill with Covid-19. Later, as the world was forced to work from home and demand for computers and video game consoles soared, chip producers were unable to keep up with demand.
The shortage has been felt right across the global technology sector, and is increasingly causing issues in the automotive industry, with some manufacturers forced to temporarily close assembly lines due to a lack of parts. Built using a just-in-time manufacturing method, vehicles tend to move along the assembly line as parts arrive on site. A delay to these deliveries means production cannot continue and the line grinds to a halt.
Manufacturers have resorted to selling vehicles with features like navigation – and wireless phone charging, in GM's case – missing entirely.
GM said in a statement: "Our supply chain organization continues to make strides working with our supply base to mitigate the near-term impacts of the semiconductor situation. GM continues to leverage every available semiconductor to build and ship our most popular and in-demand products...However, the semiconductor situation continues to remain fluid globally."