There’s no such thing as healthy nerves between companies, especially between Detroit’s Big Three. General Motors revealed in March that it eliminate Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto of its future range, as it believes it can deliver an experience that is “at least as convincing” and customers will not regret their absence. Last week Ford CEO Jim Farley never afraid to speak his mindwas requested by The Wall Street Journal if he was okay with the move. Since Farley plays for another local team, you could probably assume his answer.
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In short, while Farley sees business potential in in-car software, he doesn’t think dismissing Apple or Google — whose presence consumers have communicated they want — is a smart way to go about it. Transcribed from WSJ video:
“You have two camps in software, interior, auto OEMs: Tesla and now it turns out GM and others – we’re in this other group. I think the top three software deliverables that will be cool for customers aren’t the inner digital experience. Although that’s still really important as it’s a safety critical device and a lot more will go on inside a car than your phone so the interior has to be really good do. But in terms of content? We kind of lost that battle 10 years ago. So be realistic, because you’re not going to make a lot of money on the contents inside the vehicle. It will be safety/security, partial autonomy and productivity in our eyes. So this relationship for content is between you — the the wall street journal — and the customer. I don’t want to get involved in this. But Tesla and other companies think differently. They want to have total control over the inner experience, and we don’t think that makes a difference. »
It’s hard to argue with Farley’s view when there’s a staggering overlap between people who use Apple and Ford products. Of course, that’s probably true for any brand in Ford’s position in the United States, where iPhones are king. On the contrary, it only makes GM’s decision even less wise. The CEO continued:
“Seventy percent of our Ford customers in the United States are Apple customers. Why would I go to an Apple customer and say “good luck!” That, like, doesn’t seem customer-centric. And Apple is doing a very good job. Our philosophy is therefore different. Our philosophy is to create the best Android, CarPlay experience you can imagine. We’re also going to put in a really good customization opportunity for the customer, so they can kind of get what they want from the interior experience. And will ship high productivity, partial autonomy, safety and security software. This is where the car data makes the difference and we can be different.
If GM wanted to, it could give customers what they want and still capitalize on software in specific areas, as Farley says. By justifying GM’s strategy of The edgethe company’s vice president of software-defined operating systems, Scott Miller, used the Blazer EV’s built-in navigation app to make their point. When taken to a charging station, the app instructs the car battery to start heating up in anticipation. This is the same type of “preconditioning” that Tesla vehicles perform en route to a Supercharger, as it helps the battery accept peak speeds as charging begins, reducing connection time.
Miller said this type of behavior would not be possible via Apple Maps or Google Maps on Android because the phone projection cannot send commands to the powertrain. He’s not wrong, but there’s no reason GM nav can’t run in a window, splitting the interface with CarPlay which would handle the media side of things. GM could try to educate customers on practical reasons why they might enjoy a better experience with the Stock Maps app. Instead, it’s just decided to drop a popular feature entirely so it doesn’t have to worry about the competition.
It’s a bold strategy that can win GM’s battle, but not the war. Four out of five car buyers surveyed told the iPhone maker that they only consider cars equipped with CarPlay. The urge to make a little extra profit on the back-end through value-added software may just cost GM the sale to begin with. Or maybe GM will fulfill the collective dream of the entire auto industry: to become as beloved as Tesla, the only company that has historically managed to get away with fending off the tech giants. What bet to make.