With the outward-facing corporate decree of “zero crashes, zero emissions, zero congestion” being bankrolled largely by V8-powered trucks and SUVs that require human inputs, it’s easy to see how General Motors can be critiqued as tone-deaf with that messaging. However, today we’re here to address a different tone problem.
Anybody who drives a recently built General Motors product – be it a Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, or Cadillac – that has a push-button ignition knows what we’re talking about. The abrupt, loud, over-reactionary horn that happens every time the keys are left in the car once the driver’s door is closed after opening. Or, when the vehicle is running, and the keys leave the vehicle, once again once the driver’s door is closed after opening.
The most frustrating example of this is through GM’s Maven vehicles. They are locked/unlocked via the phone app, and the user actually never uses a key fob at all. Despite this, the horn notification goes off every single time the driver exits the vehicle. This is a massive oversight, at best. However, we might just as well have Washington DC to thank for all of this, as it is federally mandated that a vehicle with a push-button ignition needs to alert the operator if the keys exit the vehicle. But, then again, it’s not written that it has to be the horn. And to that end, the feature is thankfully defeatable, after enough time reading the owners manual and figuring out how to turn it off, via the center console touch screen.
While we completely understand the fundamental need for some sort of notification in the event of absent-mindedness, there’s no reason for it to be this aggravating. Other automakers have figured it out, like Audi:
The chirp is has its own purpose, completely outside of the function that a horn provides. A chirp notification would arguably provide a more pleasant user experience than utilizing the horn. Especially in situations that require some quiet. Like trying not to disturb a sleepy neighborhood in the middle of the night. Moreover, it’s not like GM doesn’t know how to do this correctly. For example, each and every GM plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle emits a soft chirp when a successful charging process begins. Signaling to the user that the batteries are receiving the necessary power to recharge. We can’t see it being too difficult to extrapolate this sound effect to the entire vehicle portfolio, and use it instead of the horn to notify people about their key fob.
What are your thoughts on the GM horn notification? Let us know in the comments below.