Your next car may come without a touchscreen and other tech as the chip shortage wreaks havoc on automakers

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Your next car may come without a touchscreen and other tech as the chip shortage wreaks havoc on automakers
BMW has stopped building several models with touchscreens as it manages the global chip shortage. BMW
  • Say goodbye to touchscreens and other in-car tech.
  • A shortage of computer chips has forced carmakers to ditch fancy tech features in their lineups.

Spring for a new $100,000 BMW X7 SUV and you'll get three rows of seats, a luxe interior, and plenty of fancy extras. But it'll come without one of the most basic pieces of tech that's become ubiquitous in new cars: a touchscreen.

Thank the worldwide shortage of computer chips for that. Too few chips to go around means BMW and other carmakers have had to cut a host of familiar tech features from their lineups.

The German luxury brand has temporarily stopped building touchscreens into several of its models in an attempt to keep production volumes up. That includes the 3 Series sedan; 4 Series coupe, Gran Coupe, and convertible; and the popular X5, X6, and X7 SUVs. The news first appeared in a post on the BMW enthusiast forum Bimmerfest, and the company confirmed the change in an email to Insider.

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"The global chip shortage is ongoing and impacting automakers worldwide. We are actively managing the situation and are in close contact with our suppliers," a spokesperson said.

Customers who buy one of the touchscreen-less models will receive a $500 credit. They can still use the infotainment system using knobs and buttons or voice control.

Your next car may come without a touchscreen and other tech as the chip shortage wreaks havoc on automakers
The interior of the BMW X7 SUV. BMW

The lack of computer chips stems from Covid-related production stoppages and a huge demand for smartphones and other devices during the pandemic, among other factors. It's forced automakers to slash production and cut technology features from the vehicles they're able to make.

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New cars can require more than 1,000 chips each, and short supplies mean some companies have chosen to save the ones they have for critical components rather than nonessential features.

General Motors is temporarily scrapping Super Cruise, a feature that allows for hands-free driving on some highways, from its flagship Escalade SUV, Motor1 reported in September. It also postponed the full release of the tech to the CT4 and CT5 sedans until 2022. Earlier in 2021, GM started building some trucks without its Active Fuel Management feature that improves fuel economy, a spokesperson confirmed to Insider.

Mitsubishi is limiting availability of blind-spot monitoring and some in-dash screens, the company told Consumer Reports. The French carmaker Peugeot this year replaced the digital gauges in one of its models with old-school, analog speedometers.

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Even as the pandemic begins to subside across much of the globe, carmakers aren't out of the woods yet. Many industry watchers expect the chip shortage to drag on at least until 2023. Other snazzy electronics could be on the chopping block next.

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