Exclusive: GM Says It’s “Tweaking” HD Radio Implementation

General Motors is focused on tweaking its implementation of HD Radio in some models — that’s why the automaker removed it from five models for the 2015 model year: the Chevy Traverse, Chevy Silverado truck, Buick Enclave and Regal as well as the Chevy Impala. However the goal is to bring the technology to more GM models.

GM Manager Engineering & Safety Communications Jennie Ecclestone tells Radio World that “based on customer feedback we had received on our initial HD Radio application, we decided to refine this technology and removed it from some vehicles.”

That feedback had to do with the blend back and forth between analog and digital reception. Customers found that disruptive, she said in an interview. “There’s a pause when you switch between analog and HD. We’re working on tweaking that pattern to see” if there are other “transitions.” She couldn’t elaborate on what customers said the blend sounded like to them.

“Our goal is to provide our customers with the best possible HD Radio system performance and we are taking the time to perfect this and bring it back to a larger set of vehicles for our customers to enjoy,” said Ecclestone.

She couldn’t say exactly when GM would bring HD back into the specific models, though she did clarify that barring a mid-cycle change, a full model year lasts 12 months.

When asked if GM was replacing HD Radio with streaming in the dash as part of an infotainment platform change, she said no.

Here’s a list of GM vehicles that still include HD Radio, and we’re reporting today that all Cadillacs offer HD Radio and it’s standard in the 2015 Escalade:

Model Year 2014
Cadillac — Escalade, Escalade ESV, SRX, XTS, CTS, ELR, ATS
Buick — Enclave, Lacrosse, Regal
Chevrolet — Suburban, Tahoe, Silverado LD, Impala, Corvette
GMC — Yukon, Yukon XL, Sierra 

Model Year 2015
Cadillac — Escalade, Escalade ESV, SRX, XTS, CTS, ELR, ATS, ATS Coupe
Chevrolet — Suburban, Tahoe
GMC — Yukon, Yukon XL

Auto Analyst to Radio: Don’t Freak Out


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Comment List:

I know someone who has several relatives that own car dealerships. One of the number ONE reasons for customers returning cars is because the radio is broken... only it's not really broken, it's HD switching in/out and driving people nuts. I have a Sony XDR-F1HD tuner. I had to install a "force analog" switch, to stop that from happening at home. It looks like the only valid use for "HD" is to use it as an STL to translators... to get around the "no program origination" rules.
By Willie... on 9/15/2014
To translate the GM-speak: "We got too many complaints from drivers about the sound of HD Radio, so we're taking it out until the technology has its stuff together."
By John Anderson on 9/3/2014
HD Radio Can Be Saved, If Someone Cares to Try (Highly Doubtful) http://mattsammonsez.tumblr.com/post/96221339294/hd-radio-can-be-saved-if-someone-cares-to-try
By Ollie Tabuger on 9/2/2014
The great HD push is bombing as we all knew it would. Does anyone here actually believe this latest story from GM? Does anyone here actually believe they will see HD radio in cars in 2015 and later cars except in a diminishing form? The HD radio roll out is rolling back in.
By Bob Young on 9/2/2014
That's not entirely true. There are many things on the receiver side that can be done to mitigate blend issues. Trust me on that!
By Ron on 9/2/2014
This has nothing to do with the radios. It is up to the stations for proper time-and-level alignment for transparent blends. Check out the botttom of this article for a sampling of Southern California HD stations: http://ham-radio.com/k6sti/roster.htm The radios will always have 5-second delays for rebuffering. Good luck, GM!
By Greg on 9/2/2014

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