Ford and Mercedes-Benz have announced the use of smartphones to add new features to their cars. Now, it’s General Motors’ turn to jazz up its mobile application suite to make driving more fun and easy.
The American automaker has announced that its exclusive OnStar system will use the power of Google technology to develop mobile apps aimed at strengthening Chevrolet‘s commitment to give Volt customers a “connected vehicle experience possible.”
“While OnStar will never lose sight of our core focus on safety and security, this relationship is an example of how we’re evolving our leadership position in connected vehicle technology,” OnStar president Chris Preuss said in a statement.
The partnership will support phones that use the Android software from Google, such as the Motorola Droid and HTC Droid Incredible, Preuss said, adding that initial features will include advanced navigation features using Google’s voice-based search, mapping and routing functions.
While the new mobile apps will be created on the Android platform, the New York Times’ "Wheels" blog reported that iPhone and Blackberry owners can expect to see support for these models announced soon as GM has done demonstrations using other smartphones in the past.
General Motors has thrown its weight behind a legislative proposal to make event data recorders (EDRs) mandatory in all new vehicles.
In a news release, GM said that New Mexico Senator Tom Udall’s proposal to mandate black boxes in cars is crucial in the country’s public safety campaign. The American automaker said crash devices contain important data that could help national databases analyze causes of accidents.
“It is essential that decisions on important safety issues be supported by the best available data, and we are convinced that EDRs can help that process,” Michael J. Robinson, GM’s vice-president of environment, energy and safety policy.
The device is used to record vehicle telemetry, such as speed and driver inputs, has been a fixture in GM cars since 1990 and became a standard equipment in its light-duty vehicles in 1995. Ten years ago, the device allowed for limited public retrieval of the data.
According to Motor Trend magazine, some people view EDRs as incursions to personal privacy. “Making the units mandatory in all new vehicles add fuel to the ‘Big Brother’ fire for many people,” the report said.
EDRs are not mandatory but the data they collect will be standardized by 2013, it added.
General Motors will spend $890 million to upgrade five of its engine and component plants to keep up with demand for the company’s most popular vehicles, including its four core brands Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC.
About $400 million will be spent to revamp GM’s powertrain factory in Tonawanda, New York, and $235 million will be spent on the company’s St. Catharines, Ontario plant. The rest will go to engine casting and component production at factories in Defiance, Ohio; Bedford, Indiana; and Bay City, Michigan, the New York Times reports.
The new investment comes less than week after the Detroit-based company repaid a $6.7 billion U.S. loan and announced a $257 million upgrade of its assembly plants in Kansas and Michigan for the next-generation Chevrolet Malibu sedan.
GM aims to build more fuel-efficient engines in response to consumer demand and future federal mileage requirements. Its North American assembly plants work on 24-hour schedules because of spikes in sales after it emerged from bankruptcy using government bailout money. GM’s sales were up 17% though March this year compared to 2009.
Late last month, New Jersey Nets star Keyon Dooling received an assist from the Closter Police Department after crashing his Infiniti sports utility vehicle during one of February’s most violent snowstorms.
The Nets backup point guard was on his way to practice on February 25 when he hit an ice patch, slid over the curb and blew one of his tires before colliding with a stop sign, according to NJ.com. Ironically, the Nets had cancelled practice just minutes before Dooling’s accident due to the inclement snowstorm, but he had left early to try to beat the weather and was not home to receive the call.
“I have to get here at least two hours before practice to get my body going,” laughed the veteran, who has been bit by the injury bug during each of his four stops with NBA teams.
Luckily for Dooling, who walked away unharmed after the accident, the Nets sent an intern driving a GMC SUV “with some good old American muscle” to pick up the club’s second leading assist man.
Dooling indicated to reporters after the accident that he planned to ditch his SUV for a Ford pickup, which is better equipped to handle the winter conditions in New Jersey.
Although the American auto industry has suffered recently, online sales of used GMCs in New Jersey could be as strong as those that take place at the dealership.
GMCs, Fords, Buicks and all the other American auto brands have reportedly been selling as well online as they have at used car lots, according to J.D. Power and Associates. Forty-six percent of used-vehicle buyers combed the web for their next car, which is six percent more than last year.
“Internet shopping provides prospective buyers with the opportunity to search through enormous amounts of specific vehicle information without ever leaving home, allowing for a more efficient medium of matching buyers with unique used vehicles in the market,” reports the publication.
While the news is good for every pre-owned car dealership, it could be especially encouraging for those that sell American cars like used GMCs in New Jersey and elsewhere, since the country’s auto industry has needed a boost for quite some time. Perhaps there will be more Fords, Cadillacs, Lincolns and Buicks rolling around the U.S. soon.
No one watched the Fantastic Four to see Jessica Alba compete for an Oscar, but for the body beneath the skintight suit. Likewise, those who have seen her alight from a GMC Yukon could opt for a more affordable used Chevrolet Tahoe in New Jersey, as both SUVs share the same underpinnings.
The A-list star was recently seen exiting her new jet-black Yukon, which allowed the focus to remain on her new ruby-red tresses and figure that couldn’t be hidden by a nondescript black tanktop and skinny jeans. The reporters weren’t able to find out Alba’s rationale for the full-size SUV, but buyers looking for a vehicle that can carry more than the star’s tiny pooch may be attracted to used Chevrolet Tahoes in New Jersey.
That’s because like her Yukon, a Tahoe shares much of the same frame and chassis work that powers the GMC version. Unlike luxury versions of some makes, like Toyota and Lexus, a GMC and Chevrolet SUV pair are more closely linked and look a lot alike on the outside as well.
“It maneuvers better than its external dimensions suggest,” Cars.com reviewers said of the 2005 model, adding that “performance is abundant and the ride is reasonably smooth.”
The warm weather in summer is perfect for boating, and one European company is trying to capitalize on that with a buy one yacht, get one Bentley free program.
Pearl Motor Yachts is based in Spain and the UK, and is offering a free Bentley Continental GT coupe when customers order one of the firm’s 60 foot yachts.
The yacht manufacturer has found success with the automaker in a previous venture with Bentley, and has successfully partnered with several dealerships to implement the program.
Marine enthusiasts with a smaller budget could combine a pre-owned boat with medium trucks like used GMC Sierras in New York for a more affordable package.
A GMC Sierra 1500, for example, can tow most boats that are 20 feet longer or shorter, and enable owners to bring light craft to reservoirs or shore towns on the weekend.
For the price of a new sedan, buyers could combine a 2003 GMC Sierra and a used fishing boat, towing their vessel in a truck whose “quietness is above average” and is easy to park due to its size, reported Cars.com