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No chips mean no Apple for BMW

Phone home: It is not known how many models are affected but BMW customers around the world have received cars without smartphone mirroring tech.

Chip shortage forces BMW to deliver cars without Apple CarPlay or Android Auto tech

9 May 2022

BMW is shipping new cars without Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity following a change in microprocessor suppliers, although it is understood that Australian customers are not impacted by the shortage at this time.


The decision has helped BMW to continue producing and delivering vehicles, the company telling Automotive News Europe that customers will receive the functionality via an over-the-air update “by the end of June at the latest”.


“The chips built into these cars in the first four months of this year need updated software in order to be fully functional and offer Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and Wi-Fi capability,” said BMW in a statement to Automotive News Europe.


It is not known how many models or which regions are affected by the issue, though customers in France, Italy, Spain, the UK and the US reported that their new BMWs have been delivered without the technology.


At this time, it is understood that Australian customers are not impacted by the shortage.


BMW has also reported recently that it had stopped offering manual transmission options across its Mini range, citing unspecified shortages.


“In order to secure maximum production output to meet increasing customer demand, our product offering needs to be simplified,” the company told Automotive News Europe.


“This solution is the most effective way to ensure production stability so that we can continue to supply all our customers with new Minis.”


BMW joins several vehicle manufacturers across the globe in simplifying its model ranges as a work-around to ongoing microprocessor shortages.


Volkswagen recently omitted Harman Kardon premium sound systems from Golf R and Tiguan R models to meet delivery schedules, while Citroen pulled blind-spot monitoring and rear parking sensors from its Australian-delivered C3 and C5 Aircross variants.


Mercedes-Benz has also built cars “without some specification items” in a bid to keep its production lines moving.


“In the first quarter (of 2022), we decided to build vehicles with some critical components lacking as we do expect them to be delivered in the second- or third quarter,” Mercedes-Benz CFO Harald Wilhelm told Automotive News Europe.


Speaking to the publication, automotive infotainment supplier Harman said it has been working with manufacturers to redesign its products to reduce chip content and keep production schedules on track.


“In some cases, we were able to de-content some of our products and keep the customer experience of the same level,” said Harman Automotive chief executive Christian Sobottka.


“The quick redesign and the de-contenting in many cases avoided a week-long plant shutdown.”


Figures from market research body Dataforce shows first-quarter new vehicles sales in Europe fell 19 per cent because of the constrained supply of microprocessors and other components. The fall represents a loss of more than 250,000 units compared with the same period in 2021.


Data shows that some European manufactures have been impacted more than others with Stellantis down 31 per cent, Volkswagen down 24 per cent, BMW down 23 per cent and Mercedes-Benz also down 23 per cent.


Last month, both BMW and Volkswagen executives said the chip shortage is “far from over” with production disruptions expected to continue “well into 2024”.


As GoAuto reported in April, European assembly plants continue to be affected by the ongoing microchip shortage even as the rest of the world’s vehicle production begins to normalise.


Last month, AutoForecast Solutions added almost 98,000 vehicles to its global tally of variants that have been removed from manufacturers’ production schedules this year.


About 1.4 million vehicles have been pulled from various production schedules so far in 2022, on top of the 10.5 million vehicles lost in 2021, the publication said, adding that 97,600 of the most recent increase had come from European factories.


To date this year, European factories have eliminated more than 750,000 vehicles from their production schedules because of the global chip shortage.


Elsewhere across the globe, there has been relatively little chip-related disruption in 2022. Only 1300 more vehicles were removed from Northern American production facilities, while no additional cuts were reported in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America.

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