Last week, General Motors shocked the car world when it announced that it would be restricting access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in its future lineup of electric vehicles. And so far, it appears to be alone in that decision.
GM said it wanted to move away from the smartphone projection systems to offer customers a more integrated experience that sees Google Maps, Google Assistant, Spotify, and other apps run natively on the car’s infotainment display.
But CarPlay and Android Auto are wildly popular; Apple says nearly 80 percent of new car buyers insist on the feature before making a purchase, while independent surveys suggest slightly lower but still robust levels of demand.
The rest of the auto industry gets it. The Verge reached out to all the major automakers to see if any were planning on following GM in ditching CarPlay and Android Auto, and unsurprisingly, none have responded in the affirmative.
“We continue to offer Apple Carplay and Android Auto because customers love the capability that enables easy access and control of their smartphone apps — especially our EV customers because some EVs currently do not offer the features,” said Alan Hall, a spokesperson for Ford.
“We continue to offer Apple Carplay and Android Auto because customers love the capability that enables easy access and control of their smartphone apps”
Volvo responded by forwarding a LinkedIn post from CEO Jim Rowan from 10 months ago in response to Apple’s announcement that future versions of CarPlay would be more deeply integrated into the vehicle.
“Having choice is important,” Rowan wrote then. “We want our cars to fit our customers’ lives and devices.”
Honda, which is also adopting Google’s built-in software integration for the next Accord, said it has no plans to do so at the expense of CarPlay and Android Auto.
“Our customers find value in our support of CarPlay, Android Auto, and Google built-in and we now offer these connected solutions across our lineup,” Honda spokesperson Jessica Fini said. “We will continue to offer a range of high quality, interactive solutions to provide value to our customers that match their own technology choices.”
Hyundai, which also owns a stake in Kia, said it has “no plans to stop offering AppleCar Play and Android Auto on its vehicles, including EVs,” said spokesperson Miles Johnson.
“Having choice is important”
BMW, as well, is sticking with Apple and Google’s in-car systems for now — but the German automaker also sees where GM is coming from. “Although there are intrinsic benefits to using the native navigation system particularly in [battery-electric vehicles], BMW currently has no plans to restrict the use of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto,” Jay Hansen, product and technology spokesperson for BMW, said.
A spokesperson for Stellantis declined to comment, while Mercedes and Toyota spokespersons have yet to comment. Still, the trend lines are clear. Nearly every car on sale today offers CarPlay and Android Auto. Customers have grown to expect it, and GM is taking a huge risk by betting that it can offer an infotainment experience that’s equal to or better than the one people have come to expect on their phones.
But GM isn’t completely alone in rejecting phone projection for its future EV lineup. Two pure EV automakers, Rivian and Tesla, don’t offer access to CarPlay and Android Auto, despite loud protests from customers. Both still manage to sell cars — in Tesla’s case, a lot of cars — so it’s safe to say that it isn’t exactly a deal-breaker. Lucid thought it could get away with a similar tactic, but the company recently backtracked and added CarPlay accessibility in its latest software update.
But Tesla and Rivian have never offered phone projection; GM will be actively taking away something its customers have enjoyed for years. In fact, GM’s current lineup of EVs, including the Cadillac Lyriq, which comes with native Google apps like Maps and Assistant, still allows CarPlay and Android Auto. The 2024 Lyriq will also still have it, as will the 2024 model year Chevy Silverado, GMC Hummer EV truck and SUV, and Chevy Bolt and Bolt EUV.
GM’s CarPlay-and-Android-Auto-less future begins with the 2024 Chevy Blazer EV. While GM will continue offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in its gas-powered vehicles, the automaker has pledged to stop selling combustion vehicles entirely by 2035. After that, it’s uncharted waters for North America’s biggest automaker.
Updated April 3rd 1:08PM ET: Updated to include a statement from Hyundai and BMW.