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CES 2013: Chrysler debuts dealer-activated navigation system

Uconnect Access system will also support Internet radio; Ram and Viper will get the new features first.

By Douglas Newcomb Jan 10, 2013 6:55AM

Chrysler Uconnect Access apps. Photo by Chrysler.When you buy a new car, a navigation system can seem like a nice feature to have -- until you see the price. But later down the road, even if you have navigation on your smartphone or a portable unit, you may wish you had bought the factory system.


Chrysler can now cure that buyer’s remorse. The automaker announced at the Consumer Electronics Show that its dealers will soon be able to activate the Uconnect Access in-car navigation system at a customer’s discretion, whether at the time of purchase or any time in the future.

The dealer-activated Uconnect navigation system will launch this year and debut in the 2013 Ram 1500 pickup, SRT Viper and 2014 Fiat 500L. Pricing has not been announced.


For buyers, the advantages are numerous. Because the hardware is already embedded and most new vehicles include touchscreens, drivers don’t have to deal with the dashboard clutter of a portable or the distraction of using a smartphone nav app (or worry whether their smartphone is charged). Features include all the usual nav capabilities such as points of interest, junction views, lane guidance, speed limit information, intersection zoom and trip programming.


Like some competitive systems, Uconnect Access will now also support popular Internet radio platforms. Uconnect Access Via Mobile enables drivers to use their smartphone to stream services including Aha, iHeart Radio, Pandora and Slacker in the vehicle. Drivers can then use the touchscreen and steering wheel controls to create playlists, skip songs and access others features


Chrysler hasn’t officially tipped its hand as to which vehicles will include this feature. But in speaking with Marios Zenios, vice president of Uconnect Systems and Services, MSN Autos learned that Chrysler plans to eventually roll it out across the automaker’s entire lineup.

"Uconnect Access is certainly a feature that we anticipate expanding into Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles, since we feel it offers our customers a lot of value," Zenios said.

Jan 10, 2013 9:16AM
If it costs more than say, $300, it's a ripoff.
Jan 12, 2013 2:39PM
Typical car company rip-off. Put something in a vehicle, then make you pay more if you want to use it. Chances are, the cost of the electronics are already built into the price of the car.
Jan 10, 2013 8:29PM

I think this is a way for Chrysler to save money in development and manfacturing costs by making all the infotainment systems the same.  It is however, a good idea to have such tech at one's finger tips if the price is reasonable.  No doubt the car audio customizing and audio communities will develop some sort of activation bypass method for a fraction of OEM's price.


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