Milestones

GM is the first automaker to pass 1 million Wi-Fi subscriptions, HBO Max coming to cars

General Motors has surpassed more than 1 million Wi-Fi subscribers.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

In a world where we're constantly connected to everyone and everything, there's no escaping that vehicles have now become more than just transportation. They're nearly equal parts connected device.

In September, General Motors became the first automaker with more than 1 million subscriptions to its Wi-Fi-enabled data services provided by AT&T. They hit this milestone just six years after launching 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spots in models across their lineup in the U.S. and Canada.

Since that time, GM has integrated the communication device into a more vital role for customers. Its connectivity currently serves as a key component of OnStarCrisis Assist, which serves GM customers impacted by disasters. Earlier this year, approximately 180,000 drivers in the U.S. and Canada enrolled in Crisis Assist to help navigate the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

General Motors tablet Wi-Fi New General Motors SUVs offer streaming services rather than traditional entertainment stations for rear seat passengers.Photo courtesy of General Motors

Wi-Fi connectivity plans are most popular with owners of trucks and SUVs. In the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon, and Cadillac Escalade, traditionanl DVD player entertainment systems have gone by the wayside in favor of streaming services. Available now in the App Store and Google Play for all U.S. unlimited data plan subscribers, the WarnerMedia RIDE app brings a unique smartphone or tablet experience with access to video content from Bleacher Report, Cartoon Network, CNN, HBO, TBS, TNT, truTV, Warner Bros. Television as well as other WarnerMedia content.

Next year, GM and AT&T plan to add HBO Max to a unique premium bundle of streaming content to complement the WarnerMedia RIDE and in-vehicle Wi-Fi offering.

"Being a leader in connected vehicles means constant innovation, listening to customers, and taking an inclusive approach by partnering with others who bring great entertainment and customer experiences into our vehicles," said Santiago Chamorro, GM vice president of Global Connected Services. "One million data subscribers is much more than just a number. It represents countless road trips where kids aren't asking, 'Are we there yet,' and people using their vehicles as classrooms and home offices just to make life a bit smoother. We're motivated to empower even more people moving forward."

"Connectivity is at the heart of today's driving experience," said Joe Mosele, vice president, AT&T Global Business Solutions. "We are incredibly excited to bring a fast and reliable Wi-Fi experience to millions of GM customers combined with some of WarnerMedia's most iconic brands and content libraries for more entertainment on the go."

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Honda notified dealers of upcoming supply cuts.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Honda, like all major automakers today, is truly a global operation. Though it produces plenty of vehicles here in the United States, many of the components it relies on for manufacturing come from elsewhere in the world. That means Honda, like the other auto giants, needs its global supply chain operating smoothly in order to prevent disruption. Unfortunately for Honda dealers and potential customers, disruption is what's about to happen. The automaker recently sent a letter to its dealers, forecasting reduced vehicle supply in the coming weeks.


2021 Honda Ridgeline No. 19 - Honda Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc


The dealer letter, posted to the Civic XI forum and fan site, was dated August 25 and confirmed by a dealer upset with the development, according to Automotive News. In the letter, Honda cites the ongoing pandemic and microchip shortages as major factors impacting its production efforts. Total shipments to dealers could be cut by up to 40 percent, but not all models will be affected to the same degree.

The letter noted that supplies of the Pilot and Passport SUVs will hold steady, and shared that production of the Civic hatchback is on schedule. However, the situation is fluid and could change at any time, so there's a chance that timelines could speed up or slack off as necessary.


2022 Honda Pilot Some models will see more cuts than others.Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc


Honda is just the latest in a long line of automakers struggling to keep pace with demand in the face of several converging global crises. In an effort to keep vehicles rolling out of factories, General Motors has implemented selective feature cuts in some of its new vehicles, such as the removal of engine start/stop tech from some trucks and SUVs. Earlier this month, Ford Motor Company told Mustang Mach-E buyers to expect delays of at least six weeks as it grapples with the chip shortage, and will temporarily reduce production capacity at a few of its plants.

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Biden will target 50 percent of all vehicle sales for EVs by 2030.

Ford

In the last several months, we've seen automakers from all corners of the globe commit to some degree of electrification by the end of the decade and beyond. That includes the American Big Three: Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Stellantis (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, others). Today, President Joe Biden plans to throw his weight behind these efforts by signing an executive order that sets a goal of pushing the sales of zero-emissions vehicles to half of all vehicle sales in the U.S. by 2030.

Biden's target is not legally binding, but the industry is already jumping on board. In a joint statement, Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis confirmed that they aim to hit an EV sales volume of 40-50 percent annually. It's worth noting that the President's 50 percent goal and the automakers' sales targets also include plug-in hybrid vehicles, which still use a traditional gasoline engine.


Jeep PHEV The target also includes plug-in hybrid vehicles, which still use gas engines.Jeep


Auto unions and dealers are not opposed to the ambitious roadmaps laid out by the Big Three, but both have differing views on what is essential and how things will ultimately play out. While aware of the goals, the UAW is focused on wage growth and the preservation of jobs and benefits. It feels that an increase in EV production volume must happen here in the U.S. to include good-paying American union jobs.

Dealers, to a degree, are supportive of the goals but skeptical of their ultimate success. Some feel that electric vehicles do not present the earth-shattering shift in functionality and usability that other new products, such as smartphones, did in different industries. Regardless of concerns and skepticism, it appears that automakers are going all-in on the shift to electrification, so we're bound to see a wealth of new battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in the next few years.


GM battery facility rendering Automakers are pledging billions to increase EV and PHEV production volume.GM

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