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Tell auto manufacturers: we don't need a honking horn to tell us our doors are locked   


Whether you write the same letter to each automaker or tailor your letters using industry knowledge for a stronger letter,
what matters most are specific examples of how noise from this vehicle technology has affected your life.

Immediately below is a list of auto manufacturers. Further discussion points are provided on another page on this site.


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Chrysler Group LLC

Write to:

Reid Bigland
Board of Directors, Chrysler LLC
Head of US Sales, Chrysler Group LLC
President and CEO, Chrysler Canada Inc.
One Riverside Drive West
Windsor, Ontario
N9A 5K3
Canada

Sergio Marchionne
Chief Executive Officer
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
One Riverside Drive West
Windsor, Ontario
N9A 5K3
Canada

Chrysler and Fiat owners can lock their cars quietly throughout Europe, while their North American counterparts are provided with the option of honking the horn, in spite of the fact that non-emergency horn use is illegal throughout North America. We received
a letter from Chrysler telling us that they are sorry, but North American consumers want this feature. Really? Are you sure of that? Thousands of owner-initiated online posts indicate otherwise (and the posters' neighbors aren't happy about the noise either).
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General Motors Corporation

Write to:

Mary T. Barra
Chief Executive Officer
General Motors Corporation
300 Renaissance Center
Detroit, MI 48243

General Motors vehicles use a horn sound for remote lock, remote start, and a growing array of audible alerts. Some of the best and most up to date descriptions of the misery caused by GM's horn-based alerts are written by owners rather than other complainers. Some of those complaints have links on the main page of this site in the July 1 post. Originally, the Chevy Cruze App, which facilitated "relocking" a car from great distances, which is "confirmed" by a horn honk (even though you are not there to hear it) was proudly marketed in a television ad. Since the creation of the Cruze App, the same functionality is available on all GM cars through a smartphone app. The Volt's Pedestrian Friendly Alert System uses a horn sound (see video) and Volt owners have reported being embarrassed by the horn sound used for alert at charging stations that border residential buildings.

While the majority of non-Big Three automakers transition away from horn-based alerts, GM appears disinterested in considering making that transition. In a letter we received, GM's vice president for global regulatory affairs wrote that GM’s priority is the safety and security of its customers, and that providing two-step locking with an optional horn sound to give assurance that a car is locked accomplishes that “with as little intrusion as possible.” This vice president was one of several executives who were dismissed in June of 2014 for failing to act to fix the ignition switch malfunction problem that came to light earlier in the year.

OnStar

Write to:

Timothy R. Nixon
Executive Director
Engineering Systems and Operations
OnStar LLC
400 Renaissance Center
Detroit, MI 48265

Nick Pudar
Director, Developer Ecosystems
Global Connected Consumer
OnStar LLC
400 Renaissance Center
Detroit, MI 48265

A subsidiary of General Moters, OnStar provides sophisticated subscription-based communication technologies that facilitate roadside assistance, stolen vehicle recovery, remote diagnostics, and satellite-based round-the-clock call center staff trained to assist consumers in a variety of emergency situations. OnStar's vehicle recover technology can slow down a stolen car and prevent a stolen car from restarting once it has stopped. OnStar technology can silently help a car owner locate a vehicle in a parking lot, rendering panic alarm and "car finder" horn use to find a car redundant. GM has advertised an app that locates a car using vibration and mapping rather than sound.
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Ford Motor Company

Write to:

Bill Ford
Executive Chairman
Ford Motor Company
Fairlane Plaza South
330 Town Center Drive
Dearborn, MI 48126

Copy to:

Mark Fields
President and CEO
Ford Motor Company
Fairlane Plaza South
330 Town Center Drive
Dearborn, MI 48126

Steve M. Kenner
Global Director
Automotive Safety Office
Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering
Fairlane Plaza South, Suite 400
330 Town Center Drive
Dearborn, MI 48126

Sheryl Connelly
Global Consumer Trends and Futuring Manager
Ford Motor Company
One American Road
Dearborn, MI 48126

Lately when people have written to Ford, they have received emails or letters rejecting their "ideas," so you may want to begin any correspondence with Ford by stating, "This is not an idea - this is a complaint about your vehicles adding unnecessary and discordant noise to the environment by misuing a safety device."

In this 2011 Ford Motor Company press release, an engineering supervisor at Ford claimed, “We’re getting away from using horns strictly as a warning." But horns have always been used for reasons other than warning. That is why most US state driving regulations stress that a horn has specific uses related to safety, and this is why many local noise ordinances prohibit non-emergency horn use. In European countries, audible confirmation is not used for remote locking and other convenience technologies; if confirmation is used, it is visual.

A Ford spokesman replied to our letters describing the use of the horn sound as a customer choice, describing two-step locking and use of the horn as optional, and stated that "to help address noise pollution, we have reduced the duration of" the horn sound.

In 2015 and 2016, two Lincoln models transitioned their lock alert sound to an electronic tone.
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Hyundai Motor America

Write to:

Dave Zuchowski
President and CEO
Hyundai Motor America
10550 Talbert Avenue
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Hyundai-Kia was ranked by the Union of Concerned Scientists as the "greenest automaker" in a June 2014 report, and Hyundai and Kia have clearly made an effort to transition away from horn-based alerts in recent years. However, Hyundai has not fully transitioned away from horn sounds, offering a subtle electronic tone in some models, while keeping the horn lock alert sound in base models. Kia now offers the electronic tone for the first press of a two-step locking system, but kept the horn sound for the second press of the key fob. Additionally, Hyundai's smartphone app features "honk your horn from your phone" car locating technology. Kia offers a silent GPS-based smartphone app. If Hyundai and Kia were to get on the same page (that would be the quieter page) and fully transition every model as quickly as possible, Hyundai-Kia would be competitive with Toyota in terms of alerts and noise.
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Mazda Motor of America

Write to:

Masahiro Moro
President and CEO
Mazda North American Operations
7755 Irvine Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618

A popular but dated post in a Mazda forum illustrates the difficulty a Mazda owner encountered trying to get her car to stop honking when she locked the doors - a scenario described by owners of a broad range of cars.

Since that time, Mazda redesigned its acoustic lock confirmation to include an electronic tone for the "first press" of the key fob, but unfortunately opted to keep the horn honk for the "second press" in case the owner doesn't trust the first sound.
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Mitsubishi Motors North America

Write to:

Mr. Gayu Uesugi
Chairman
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.
6400 Katella Avenue
Cypress, CA 90630

Mitsubishi Motors claims to be committed to "protecting the environment at the level of local communities and society as a whole," but the word "noise" does not appear anywhere in its Environmental Vision 2020. Mitsubishi's environmental policy states, "We will comply with environmental regulations and agreements, and will work to protect the environment by establishing voluntary management targets." The idea of voluntary environmental initiatives rather than reactive compliance is a concept that many automakers have embraced. But Mitsubishi has overlooked accoustical alert noise, and needs to understand that protecting the environment includes being mindful of its contribution to noise pollution and community noise.
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Mercedes-Benz USA

Write to:

Dietmar Exler
President and CEO
Mercedes-Benz USA
303 Perimeter Center North
Atlanta, GA 30346

A decade ago, Mercedes-Benz began transitioning from silent locking with flashing lights to an electronic chirp that was soft and subtle. Perhaps thinking that American consumers need a louder, more startling confirmation of lock status, Mercedes-Benz then transitioned from the subtle electronic chirp to horn honking.

It is interesting to note that in Germany, few if any cars are set to honk for lock confirmation - instead flashing lights are used, or nothing is used. A German noise regulation states, "If an indication of short-term ‘dynamic’ processes such as changes from ‘set’ to ‘unset’ and vice versa is provided, it shall be optical." It is encouraging to know that German automakers like Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen observe German regulations. Now if only they would familiarize themselves with US state driving regulations that overwhelmingly limit horn use to emergency situations and specific warning situations while driving and observe those regulations as well.
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Volkswagen Group of America

Write to:

Hinrich J. Woebcken
President and CEO
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.
2200 Ferdinand Porsche Drive
Herndon, VA 20171

Scott Keogh
President and CEO
Audi of America, Inc.
2200 Ferdinand Porsche Drive
Herndon, VA 20171

Volkswagen's BlueMotion brand and Jetta TDI were named the 2010 World Green Car and 2009 Green Car of the Year respectively, but Volkswagen vehicles use a horn honk for audible lock alert. Audi is the premium brand of the Volkswagen Group. Audi vehicles use a sharp and grating sound that is captured in its "Chirp" television ad that inadvertently serves as a noise awareness video, showing the effects of lock alert noise on people who are sleeping and reading. Audi proudly compares the noise to a musical arrangement. Some people who like the use of noise to signify locking like the Audi lock sound, while others have described it as grating and would prefer not to hear it in residential settings, campgrounds, and parking lots.
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American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Write to:

Robert Bienenfeld
Assistant Vice President
Environment and Energy Strategy
Product Regulatory Office
American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
1919 Torrance Boulevard
Torrance, CA 90501

Honda has transitioned all of its models' lock alert sound to an electronic tone, but has opted to adopt the feature that honks the horn with its smart phone app.
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Nissan North America Inc.

Write to:

Carlos Ghosn
President and Chief Executive Officer
Nissan North America
One Nissan Way
Franklin, TN 37067

Vicki Smith
Senior Manager
Corporate Social Responsibility
Nissan North America
One Nissan Way
Franklin, TN 37067

Nissan has a broad range of environmental programs and goals at the same time that lock alert horn sounds from Nissan and Infiniti vehicles contribute to noise pollution in communities throughout North America. In Europe, Nissan vehicles do not use audible security confirmation or "Panic Alarm."

Nissan and Infiniti transitioned some of their cars' acoustic lock alert processes to an electronic tone and kept horn honking for other processes. Nissan could have used an environmentally friendly low-decibel chime with its Easy-fill Tire Alert feature, but instead uses a honking horn - and this is a process that typically occurs at filling stations, the last place you would want to misuse a safety device!
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