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Learning to Use a New Electronic Gizmo? Ask a Kid

GM hires group of specialists to teach dealers, car buyers how to use infotainment systems.

by on Nov.27, 2012

Cadillac calls its new infotainment system the Cadillac User Experience or CUE. Here, it's shown in the 2013 Cadillac XTS.

Everyone knows that if you need to learn how to use a new electronic toy, talk to a young person.

General Motors has obviously heard that advice, so it’s hired a group of young, tech-savvy people to serve as connected customer specialists to train GM dealers and support vehicle owners trying to learn its new infotainment systems.

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After watching Ford’s missteps with its own MyFordTouch and MyLincolnTouch, GM is trying to avoid some of the same mistakes. But can young tech geeks teach car buyers new tricks?

GM Gains Ground on Imports

Maker posts major gains in reliability study; still lags Toyota.

by on Oct.30, 2012

Cadillac has been gaining ground with new models like the ATS.

Can General Motors close the quality gap?  The maker has long lagged key Asian rivals like Toyota and Honda, but a new study suggests it is rapidly gaining on the imports.  GM was the only member of the Detroit Big Three to improve its standing in the latest annual Consumer Reports automotive reliability study, a survey of 1.2 million of the non-profit magazine’s reader.  Rival Ford, by contrast, suffered a significant decline in the annual study.

Only German luxury maker Audi did better at improving its reliability, compared to GM’s own flagship Cadillac brand.

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The strong performance in the influential Automotive Reliability Study comes as vindication for the long and laborious effort GM has made to get a handle on endemic quality problems.  Industry analysts contend that years of poor quality resulted in significant market share losses for the giant U.S. maker – and contributed to the steady decline that plunged GM into bankruptcy in 2009.


Buy a Cadillac, Get an iPad

Luxury maker giving tablet away with new XTS sedan.

by on May.10, 2012

Cadillac will give away an iPad to buyers of its new XTS, the tablet computer loaded with apps designed to complement the new Caddy CUE system.

Buy a car, get a pad. That’s one of the bonuses Cadillac is throwing in with the new XTS flagship sedan it is launching in late spring.

Customers will get a new iPad as part of the deal, the tablet computer loaded with a variety of software features that are, in turn, part of what Cadillac is describing as a network of new support services it hopes will differentiate it from other luxury brands.

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The iPad itself will feature a variety of apps, including one that will let buyers “test drive” the new Caddy CUE system.  That’s the maker’s new voice-activated infotainment system.  CUE uses some of the same basic technology as Apple’s Siri service and is pre-programmed to recognize common speech, rather than the strict command language most other in-car voice systems require a user to learn.

The iPad will also be loaded with OnStar RemoteLink and the MyCadillac app allowing owners to find the nearest dealer, schedule service and repairs online or call for roadside assistance, if necessary.


IIHS Questions Need for Cellphone Ban

Existing laws haven’t cut crashes.

by on Dec.20, 2011

Though it agrees distracted driving is a major problem, a key insurance industry group questions the need for a blanket ban on all in-car technologies.

Not everyone believes that a wholesale ban on using cellphones – along with other electronic devices – would make driving safer.

In fact, existing laws that already restrict the use of handheld phones have had no impact on reducing distracted driving crashes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which questions the value of a recent proposal by the National Transportation Safety Board to take existing laws to a new level.  After studying a series of major incidents linked to distracted driving, the NTSB this month recommended sweeping new rules that would effectively bar drivers from using most electronic devices.

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But speaking with CNN, Russ Rader, a spokesman for the IIHS, cautioned that “distracted driving is much bigger than just phones,” adding that, “”focusing on phones doesn’t deal with the full spectrum of things that distract.”


“Test Driving” Cadillac Cue

iPad-like system can be controlled with normal speech.

by on Nov.11, 2011

Cadillac demonstrates the new Cue infotainment system, which debuts on the 2013 Caddy XTS.

Ever since Motorola introduced the first primitive in-car radio motorists have been demanding more and better onboard electronics – and these days, some cars offer better technology than you’ll find in the typical home or office.

But that raises another challenge: how to provide simple and intuitive controls for all that technology so the car’s cabin doesn’t like the crowded cockpit of a fighter jet.  We’ve seen some creative solutions – from BMW’s iDrive to Ford MyTouch — that have created problems of their own, but now, General Motors is weighing in with what it bills as the even more advanced Cadillac Cue.

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We got a chance to take the technology for a test drive, so to speak, ahead of its formal introduction at the L.A. Auto Show next week.  And, while the prototype Caddy Cue still had some clear bugs to work out before its launch on the new 2013 Cadillac XTS sedan, we found that it clearly advances the state of in-car infotainment controls.