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Ford CEO Jim Farley has confirmed that the company has no plans to drop support for CarPlay due to its immense popularity among Ford customers. Speaking to The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern, Farley revealed that 70% of Ford’s customers in the US are Apple customers, which makes it imperative for Ford to continue supporting the in-car software solution.
Farley’s comments were in response to other car manufacturers that have chosen not to support CarPlay, including General Motors and Tesla. While Tesla has never added CarPlay support to its vehicles, GM earlier this year announced plans to phase out support for both CarPlay and Android Auto, starting in 2023. GM has plans to go with a built-in infotainment system co-developed with Google as it transitions from combustion vehicles to electric vehicles. CarPlay will be available in non-electric models, but GM ultimately has plans to switch to an all-electric lineup by 2035.
While iPhone users have been asking Tesla to support CarPlay for years, GM’s decision to drop support for the software has not been particularly popular with those who are in the Apple ecosystem. By removing control of the infotainment system from Apple, GM and Tesla have access to more data about their customers and can also push vehicle-related digital subscription services.
However, Farley believes that there isn’t much money to be made in the content that car owners consume in their vehicles. Instead, Ford is focusing on safety, security, autonomy, and productivity features.
“In terms of content, we kind of lost that battle 10 years ago,” Farley said. “So like get real with it, because you’re not going to make a ton of money on content inside the vehicle. It’s gonna be safety, security, partial autonomy, and productivity in our eyes. So that relationship for content is between you, The Wall Street Journal, and the customer. I don’t want to get in the middle of that, but Tesla and other companies believe differently. They want to have complete control over the interior experience.”
Having a familiar navigation and infotainment system in the car is appealing to customers who don’t want to have to transition between two incompatible software setups. Therefore, GM’s decision to drop support for CarPlay and Android Auto will likely be off-putting to those who have become used to the way that in-car solutions from Apple and Google extend the smartphone experience to the vehicle. No CarPlay could even be a dealbreaker for some customers, so it will be interesting to see how GM’s transition affects future vehicle sales.
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Starting in 2023, Apple plans to roll out a next-generation CarPlay experience that will offer even deeper integration into new vehicles for manufacturers who choose to continue offering CarPlay as an option. With Farley’s confirmation, it seems that Ford will be one of those manufacturers. As for GM and Tesla, only time will tell whether their decisions to drop support for CarPlay will ultimately benefit or harm their businesses.