Excerpts from Automotive News:
General Motors has upgraded software on its vehicles’ OnStar module remotely — without requiring the vehicles’ owners to visit a dealership — and will do so again, said Karl Stracke, vice president of global vehicle engineering.
The action is part of an expanded assertiveness by GM to control its software.
But some dealers argue that they should retain control of vehicle software and customer relations.
Through wireless communications, automakers increasingly have had the ability to upgrade or fix software on consumers’ vehicles remotely. But some have been wary of doing so.
Dealers have long argued that they are the automakers’ customers, and the consumers are the dealers’ customers.
If the software on a vehicle needs to be fixed or upgraded, the dealers say, the consumer should go back to the dealer for the procedure.
That builds loyalty to their dealership and offers the opportunity for additional service work.
“The question is what type of upgrade you’re talking about,” Stracke said. “Customer care issues” will be upgraded through the dealer, he said, while “quality improvement initiatives” will be handled directly from GM to the vehicle.