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Monday, July 30, 2012
New call center to help customers get familiar with infotainment system
IntelliLink debuted on the 2012 Verano luxury sedan and is currently available for the Regal luxury sport sedan and LaCrosse luxury sedan. Designed to be used with two hands on the wheel as often as possible, IntelliLink’s layout was created with an emphasis on minimizing distractions. New features for 2013 integrate more functionality into the system’s voice control commands.
Using the Pandora Internet radio app interface when paired with a smartphone, owners of 2013 models can tune to a favorite station solely by voice command. Likewise, saying “More like this” while an iPod or other USB media device is playing generates a random music playlist based on the current song.
The “More like this” feature uses Gracenote media database technology to identify artist and song titles. For 2013, Gracenote’s album cover art display capability expands to include genre and artist art.
“As smartphones that stream and hold music grow ever more popular, we want to ensure Buick customers have connectivity that’s both intuitive and safe to use,” said IntelliLink lead engineer Tony Kraatz. “These updates make it easier to access the songs they love.”
Other IntelliLink updates include added features for SiriusXM satellite radio, a subscription to which is included for three months with every Buick. SiriusXM Tune Select allows drivers and passengers to tag an artist or song name, triggering an on-screen notification whenever a favorite tune plays on any SiriusXM channel.
For most Buick models, SiriusXM Travel Link takes the provider’s services beyond radio, offering nearby fuel prices, movie theater show times, and weather reports. For vehicles with navigation, the driver will have the option of mapping a route directly to a selected gas station or movie theater.
To speed the use of IntelliLink and keep the driver’s eyes on the road, a new “Quick Info” icon allows access to the most popular features, including SiriusXM Travel Link features, audio info and turn-by-turn navigation. An added “Transfer to Private” icon allows a Bluetooth-paired phone call to be moved off the vehicle’s speakerphone.
In addition to upcoming in-car updates, Buick has created a support network for customers who need help familiarizing themselves with new IntelliLink technology. Based in Austin, Texas, the Customer and Relationship Service (CARS) Infotainment Customer Support Team will provide one-on-one guidance for owners.
“Our next generation infotainment customer will demand a higher level of service, support and solutions due to their interactive technical experience,” said Brian Sweeney, U.S. vice president of Buick Sales and Service. “This is one more way that we are working to deliver an exceptional customer service experience.”
Dedicated specialists at CARS will be trained to provide customers the quick and thorough support they need. New 2013 Buick models will begin arriving at dealerships later this year."
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Thursday, July 19, 2012
By Rene Wisely, Correspondent | Published Jul 18, 2012
- Owners of GM vehicles equipped with the OnStar system can rent them out thanks to a new nationwide program with car-sharing service RelayRides.
- The program essentially means that the average owner of a GM vehicle can start a car rental business to earn extra money.
- Renters unlock the cars using a smartphone or by sending a text message and then access the keys the owner has hidden inside the vehicle.
"DETROIT — Owners of GM vehicles equipped with the OnStar system can rent them out thanks to a new nationwide program with car-sharing service RelayRides.
The program essentially means that the average owner of a GM vehicle can start a car rental business to earn extra money in what is becoming known as a peer-to-peer arrangement.
Renters unlock the cars using a smartphone or by sending a text message and then access the keys the owner has hidden inside the vehicle. The OnStar system has an embedded cellular modem that enables renters to bypass a physical hand-off of the keys to the car. GM describes the setup as "an entirely new mobility solution for U.S. drivers."
"Depending on the location and availability of the car, RelayRides marketplace participants can earn hundreds of dollars per month from their idle vehicles," said GM in a statement on Tuesday. "Owners whose cars are not OnStar-enabled can still rent out their vehicles through the RelayRides' marketplace by exchanging keys with the renter."
RelayRides, a San Francisco car-sharing company, said in a statement on its Web site that car owners "control the price and decide who rents your car and when." The minimum hourly price is $5 and the maximum is $50. It says that participants can earn "up to $600 a month." The car is covered with a $1 million liability policy during rentals. RelayRides gets a 40 percent cut in the deal."
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Chevrolet — 180,098 sales, up 14.8 percent
The Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck once again led the brand in overall volume, with sales up three percent over June 2011 to 33,566 trucks. It was closely followed by the Malibu sedan, which reported sales of 31,402 for a gain of 32.3 percent. Rounding out Chevrolet’s top-five sellers were the Equinox crossover, up 15.8 percent to 20,793 units; the Cruze suffered a 23.8-percent sales decline but still moved 18,983 units; and the Impala sedan posted sales of 17,274, up 5.8 percent year-over-year.
GM crossovers and SUVs enjoyed a strong month. The soon-to-be-discontinued Avalanche sold 1719 copies, up 3.1 percent; the Colorado was up 37.0 percent to 4124 trucks; the Express van enjoyed a sales boost of 39.8 percent to 8104; Suburban sales grew 53.1 percent to 6427 units; and sales of the Traverse crossover rose 41.0 percent to 9570.
The Sonic subcompact sold 6785 last month, bringing its total sales to date to 42,240. The Chevrolet Camaro sports car was up 7.5 percent to 9123 — but that still trailed the Ford Mustang by 1140 units. The Corvette was up 13.5 percent to 1475 sales last month, while the Volt electric car saw sales jump 213.7 percent compared to June 2011, to 1760 copies.
Buick — 18,851 sales, up 26.8 percent
Sales of the Buick Regal fell 34.2 percent year-over-year to just 2326 units, making it the slowest-selling Buick model (aside from the now-discontinued Lucerne sedan). In its first full month on sale, the Chevrolet Cruze-based Verano sedan recorded 4091 sales, putting it third out of the brand’s four existing models, and bringing its total sales volume to 15,669. The Buick Enclave crossover saw sales rise 30.0 percent to 5207, while the LaCrosse sedan gained 20.8 percent to sell 7206 units.
Cadillac — 12,124 sales, up 11.6 percent
After months of poor sales and year-over-year declines, Cadillac finally reported a positive sales result in June. Sales of the CTS family rose 20.2 percent to 5046 units, and the SRX crossover gained 7.8 percent year-over-year to sell 4260 units. In its first month on sale, the 2013 XTS luxury sedan managed 753 sales. The Cadillac Escalade range, meanwhile, posted a 19-percent sales gain to finish the month at 1964 units. Cadillac is still brought down by the fact that production of the popular STS and DTS has ended; those models reported year-over-year sales declines of 85.0 and 91.0 percent, respectively.
GMC — 37,677 sales, up 14.9 percent
Every single one of GMC’s models posted a sales gain compared to a year prior — thanks in part to the fact that the brand offered healthy incentives and low interest rates on its vehicles. The Sierra pickup remained the volume champion at 12,479 units, up 0.8 percent year-over-year, closely followed by the Acadia crossover at 9796 sales, up 55.9 percent, and the Terrain crossover at 7795 units, up 11.5 percent. The Canyon pickup saw sales up 19.1 percent to 880 units, sales of the Savana van rose 14.7 percent to 2105, and the Yukon range reported 4622 sales, up 1.9 percent year-over-year."
Friday, July 6, 2012
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2013 Verano and Encore feature 10 air bags, advanced active safety
Both Verano and Encore offer 10 standard air bags and body structures that consist of more than 60 percent high-strength steel. In the 2013 model year, each model also receives new active safety systems. Unlike passive safety features – such as safety belts and air bags – that are designed to protect occupants when a crash occurs, active safety systems use sounds, visual warnings and automated actions to help prevent crashes.
Later this summer, Verano will make standard a Rear Vision Camera on all models and an optional safety package that includes Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. These two technologies share a set of radar sensors hidden in the corners of the rear bumper that may help drivers avoid crashes when changing lanes or backing.
When backing, Rear Cross Traffic Alert senses cross traffic up to 65 feet away that may not be visible to the driver when backing out of a parking space or driveway. The driver is alerted with a red directional arrow displayed on the Rear Vision Camera screen and three directional beeps.
“We want to integrate our backing visual warnings onto that screen so drivers know where to look and can quickly see for themselves what’s causing the warning,” said Raymond Kiefer, General Motors Active Safety Technical Fellow. “That way, they can react quickly to what the camera, radar and ultrasonic sensors are detecting.”
Side Blind Zone Alert technology makes its way to the Verano from the larger LaCrosse luxury sedan and Enclave luxury crossover SUV. It cautions drivers when a vehicle is in a blind zone in an adjacent lane. According to sales data, it is among Buick’s most popular active safety features.
Encore, which arrives early in 2013, carries its own active safety resume and will be the first vehicle in its segment to offer the combination of Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning. Both features use a single forward-looking camera sensor that has a lower cost to consumers than competitive systems that use radar or a combination of radar and camera.
“Studies suggest that people can use changes in object size as they approach to estimate how long until they collide,” said Kiefer. “Buick’s single-camera detection system works much like a human eye, with state-of-the-art image processing equipment analyzing 10-12 scene images per second to decide if the changes in the size of a vehicle ahead suggest a crash may be just a few seconds away.”
Forward Collision Alert can be adjusted to near, medium and far timing settings. Although an “Off” setting is also provided, the majority of owners report they keep the system active.
At speeds above 25 mph, Forward Collision Alert gives audible and visual warnings when a collision may be imminent. Lane Departure Warning alerts drivers when they may have crossed a detected lane marker without using a turn indicator when driving at speeds over 35 mph. It, too, can be deactivated with the push of a button.
Like every current Buick, Encore will be offered with a Rear Vision Camera.
Enclave, the industry’s top-selling three-row luxury crossover, will debut this year with safety innovations of its own, including the world’s first front center air bag. Every Buick also comes standard with six months of an OnStar Directions and Connections plan, which includes Automatic Crash Response and roadside assistance.
Every 2012 Buick model is rated a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and every Buick model tested by the U.S. government’s New Car Assessment Program this year has received a Five Star Overall Vehicle Score. To discover more about how the brand designs vehicles around occupant safety, visit the Buick vehicle safety page."