Hyundai Canada, Android Auto & Apple CarPlay: The Facts

Over the last little while I’ve be tracking a story regarding the lack of availability of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in Canadian sold Hyundai vehicles. This is in stark contrast with Hyundai USA who has updates available for many of their vehicles to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. During the process of following this story, I’ve been monitoring the Hyundai Forums which is a online community of Hyundai owners from around the world, as well as speaking to and trading e-mails with Canadian owners of Hyundai vehicles who have expressed to me frustration and disappointment at not being able to get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in their vehicles. For example, I spoke to James McIntosh of Vancouver BC who is a proud owner of a three week old 2016 Hyundai Tucson which he loves. But he stated that he was “disappointed” in regards to not being able to get the update. On top of that, he also expressed the fact that Hyundai has sent messages that this update may not be possible because of differences in the hardware between Canadian and American vehicles. But at the same time, MnSOFT who provides updates for maps and the like in Hyundai vehicles has an update available today that brings Android Auto functionality to Canadian vehicles. That appears to contradict Hyundai’s public statements which didn’t go over well with him. Not only that, the price to get it from MnSOFT was $235 which didn’t leave a good taste in his mouth.

Now everything that Mr. McIntosh has said is consistent with other Canadian Hyundai owners that I have spoken to. The thing is, I only have one side of the story. I’ve written two additional articles on this topic, and all of them are missing an important piece to the story: Hyundai Canada. It would be very easy for me to bash Hyundai Canada, but one thing that I’ve learned in the almost 10 years that I’ve been writing this blog is that in situations like these where consumers are not happy about something a big corporate entity does, there’s almost always a reason or reasons behind it that consumers never see. It’s sometimes never communicated to those consumers in a way that puts the issue to rest, if it is communicated at all. And in the absence of information, you get this sort of situation. So, in attempt to bring Hyundai Canada’s side of the story to the table, I reached out to Hyundai Canada via their customer relations department and I got connected with Chad Heard who is their Senior Manager for Public Relations. Now before I get to what he said to me, I’d like to highlight something. I’ve been doing this blog for almost a decade. For me to get an interview arranged in less than 48 hours on a topic that might be sensitive to a large corporation is impressive, and shows me that Hyundai Canada isn’t trying to run from this issue.

Now, I spoke Mr. Heard at length and on top of that, Mr. Heard provided a statement which I have reprinted in full below:

Google and Apple are solely responsible for the development of the core Android Auto and CarPlay software, respectively. Hyundai engineers in the U.S. and Korea are providing full support to both companies to bring a version of the software systems to the Canadian market. While numerous announcements regarding these connectivity features have been made in the U.S., the roll-out in Canada is different. For example, only selected 2017 model year Hyundai vehicles are equipped with Android Auto in Canada and none have CarPlay. This is due to significant differences in hardware and software between Canadian and U.S. Hyundai vehicles that require additional programming and is also why there will be no retrofiting of existing customer vehicles as described in the U.S. Hyundai is committed to customer service and will continue monitoring developments with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay closely so it can provide customers the most up-to-date information available at the time of request. To that end, based on current data, the roll-out of Android Auto began with select new, 2017 model year vehicles — namely, Elantra, Santa Fe Sport, Santa Fe XL,and Sonata (excluding hybrid and plug-in hybrid). For Apple CarPlay, it’s not clear at this time when it will be available. Further, the company will not guarantee it will be in a position to offer either feature as a simple software update that customers can do themselves. Bringing both features into Canada and being 100% confident they will deliver a premium user experience is a priority for Hyundai Canada. The Canadian implementation group involved in this project remain in regular contact with the connectivity development team found around the world; their mutual goal is for customers to find both pieces of software throughout the Canadian new Hyundai vehicle line-up.

This is a very direct and robust answer that addresses this issue from all angles as far as I am concerned. I believe this will address any and all questions regarding this issue.

There’s some other notes that I’d like to pass along:

  • In this post that I pointed out that the Hyundai Canada website was advertising that Android Auto was in the 2016 Tucson. I have been informed by Mr. Heard that this has been corrected as this functionality is not on the 2016 Tucson. I checked the Hyundai Canada website entry for the Tucson under the interior section and I can confirm that the change has been made.
  • In this post, I wrote about the fact that MnSOFT has a version of their software that updates the infotainment system that is available today which gives one Android Auto functionality today and promises in a future version Apple CarPlay functionality. Mr. Heard admitted that this development “took us completely by surprise”. Now some of you reading that are likely wondering how is that possible given that Hyundai has charged MnSOFT to provide software updates to the infotainment systems in Hyundai vehicles. I would say that it is very possible as I’ve been around long enough to have seen numerous occasions where one company who is working with another company gets off script and ends up causing grief for someone. This appears to me to be one of those situations.

So, if I were to look at this as a whole, I think that a combination of Hyundai Canada trying do the right thing in terms of communicating the facts as they knew them in a situation that had constantly moving parts to it (which from seeing these situations unfold, I can safely say that sometimes things can go sideways when you’re in that situation), combined with some unfortunate events (namely MnSOFT) brought us to where we are today. Thus I really think that Hyundai Canada deserves a “free pass” on this situation and there’s likely some lessons learned for them that will help them to avoid this sort of situation in the future. Now, one thing that I have offered is to keep in touch with Hyundai and communicate any developments on this front. I do hope they take me up on this offer.

In closing, I’d like to thank both James McIntosh and Chad Heard for taking the time to speak to me and helping me to put together this story. Your assistance is much appreciated.

UPDATE: One final plot twist to this story. In this story I mentioned that MnSOFT had an update that brings Android Auto to the party. A user on the Hyundai Forums by the name of “Buenor2016” alerted me that this has now changed.

MNSOFT-06212016

This update now does Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. In the interest of science, I have forked over some money to get this update. When I get it, I’ll document the install process and produce a pair of videos that show Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in action.

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25 Responses to “Hyundai Canada, Android Auto & Apple CarPlay: The Facts”

  1. mellobob Says:

    I’d agree with you that Hyundai Canada deserves a pass on this … except that MapNSoft is a subsidiary of Hyundai Corp. Yes, I know they are a big outfit, but a bit of inter company communications might be a good idea.

    Like you, I’m getting the update. Hope it solves a bunch of problems. I almost drove off the road yesterday trying to get braindead-susie to do a nav command via voice. I finally pulled over and entered the data manually … still not easy to do, but it did work.

    Good job on following this though and getting the corporate view from Hyundai.

  2. JF Laplante Says:

    I, unfortunately, don’t think they deserve a pass. If it can be done they should do what needs to be done to do the right thing by their customer who were misled, intentionally or not, by the various information sources including this one:

    https://www.android.com/auto/

    I’m not willing to call the MapNSoft event unfortunate but since someone mentioned that they are a subsidiary; it now look like a conflict of interest.

    While I do love the car, this will certainly undermine the confidence I previously had in Hyundai. My 2016 PHEV is not my first Sonata…

  3. I also don’t think they deserve a pass. The given reason for the US/Canada difference is really vague and looks like a PR method of geting away with an easy out of a bad situation. That kind of answer is too easy.

    The reason would more likely be that they don’t want to pay for the upgade. And they will never say that!

  4. Did you ever get your update? Is it worth it?

  5. Hi IT nerd,

    We here in Australia are facing what you guys were facing. Thanks for sharing this. I hope to do the same here in Australia by putting up a Facebook group. If anyone here is reading from Australia please join my Facebook page to bring Apple CarPlay to the Tucson Elite/Highlander variants: https://www.facebook.com/groups/398651916925364/

  6. Hey Bud, can you inquire about the progress in Canada, seems its stalled

  7. Keith MacDougall Says:

    Great article. I’m thinking about buying a Santa fe xl 201 in Canada, but in worried android auto won’t install. Are you sure it will?

  8. Gabriel John Says:

    I specifically asked for the CarPlay feature and at no time did the dealership tell me it was not available. I was taken, period.

  9. […] Hyundai Canada, Android Auto & Apple CarPlay: The Facts […]

  10. Alexis Vanderborcht Says:

    Do you have any information about a European release or update on this matter?

  11. dumbbutterfly Says:

    I got this email from my dealership today:

    “Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. is pleased to announce that the Apple CarPlay™1 and Android Auto™2 software upgrade is now available for your vehicle at no charge. The software is now offered on the 2016 Elantra GT, 2015/2016 Sonata, 2016/2017 Sonata Hybrid, 2016/2017 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, 2016 Tucson, and 2015/2016 Genesis Sedan.
    This upgrade has been designed to allow you to install the software on your own vehicle without the need to visit a Hyundai Dealership. It is a one-time upgrade – all subsequent software upgrades will be uploaded to your vehicle through Apple CarPlay™ or Android Auto™.
    In case you prefer a professional to perform this upgrade, please contact your local Hyundai Dealership for details and to request an appointment. Please note that there are fees associated with Dealer Software Upgrade. For more details, please contact your Dealership.
    The software upgrade and instructions are available on our software upgrade page http://HyundaiSoftwareUpgrade.ca/
    If you have any questions regarding the Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ software upgrade, please contact Hyundai Customer Relations.
    Thank you very much for choosing Hyundai.
    Sincerely,
    Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. “

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