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New York 2013: GM President Mark Reuss talks tech

Executive responsible for new Camaro Z/28 explains why GM is as focused on processing power as it is on horsepower.

By Douglas Newcomb Mar 28, 2013 8:22AM

GM president Mark Reuss meets the tech press at the New York Auto Show.Encouraged by the hoots of muscle-car enthusiasts attending Chevrolet’s 2013 New York Auto Show press conference on Wednesday, Mark Reuss, General Motors' North American president and resident motorhead, couldn’t contain his excitement when revealing the new Camaro Z/28.

A couple of hours before, Reuss faced a group of fanatical journalists of a different sort -- tech writers and bloggers who approach the car as a giant gadget rather than just a means of motoring.


While obviously more at home talking horsepower, Reuss was well-versed in his company’s ambitious technology plans as he discussed how processing power and portable-device integration are becoming crucial to a new generation of car buyers.


On GM’s various infotainment strategies for its different brands:


Reuss: You’ll see different approaches. In a Spark, we have a bring-your-own-media approach. This is a car that’s $12,000 to $13,000. So that car in that price point is one approach to connectivity that basically replicates what you have on your phone in a simple, easy-to-use way.


The Cadillac Cue system embeds more of that technology into the car. It replicates a lot of what a tablet or smartphone would do. And while the demographic for Cadillac may not be the very youngest, our population is permanently changed by the use of those devices, no matter what your generation. So people immediately understand what that is and how to use it.


Those are bookends of the portfolio. And if you look at the Cue system, it’s quite different than the Chevrolet MyLink in an Impala. So we’re very flexible. We will sell what we think the customer wants based on the feedback we’ve gotten, and we will be able to adapt, platform-wise, to just about anything anybody wants. That’s why we did it that way. We weren’t focused on a silver bullet for any one of these segments because it changes so fast, and so we want to be able to adapt.


On GM’s recent announcement of bringing 4G connectivity to the car through AT&T:


Reuss: We’ve had OnStar in the car for 17 years. That demonstrates the commitment we made [to connectivity]. That’s a long-term financial commitment to  … expansion of that pipe we’ve invested in.

I see all the different devices here today [points to bloggers’ phones and tablets on the table]. That’s a reflection of who you are, a reflection of how you live. And linked with 4G capability in the car, if done right, that harvests that early investment in OnStar.

It becomes an amazing value for the customer. If you have a GM vehicle and you have OnStar, we’re tapping into the car to deliver [data] through your handheld device. Through that pipeline [you can get] your tire pressure, fuel economy, preventive maintenance schedule -- all of those things are delivered now to one app through Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac.

It takes the challenge of thinking about when my oil needs to be changed, when my tires need to be rotated, it takes that away from your busy life. Those are big things, because the world is not getting less complex, and these types of tools make your daily life less complex.


On the impact of bringing 4G into the car and having AT&T as a partner:


Reuss: We want to be able to deliver content and make your car better very rapidly. So this is a really key part of that. What it means to the content we deliver in the car is that it’s going to change every six months to a year. That’s going to give GM agility that no one else has. The content we want to be able to deliver could change as rapidly as the electronics industry.


On what GM is doing differently on infotainment versus competitors:


Reuss: What you see … like in a Spark, [are] simple things people understand, like Siri Eyes Free. We want to be first with things like that. People get that; they know what that is and it’s not something they have to relearn in a car because it’s a completely different interface than anything else in the market. They know it’s going to be simple, they’re not going to pay a lot of money for it, and it’s going to help them make their lives easier. Those are the key fundamentals we’re going to make sure everybody gets.

Mar 28, 2013 12:53PM
Mean while everybody is still sleeping after the introduction of Toyota`s 2014 models. When they wake up maybe they can figure out why Toyota has been such an epic failure over the years lately 
Mar 28, 2013 1:27PM

 Millions and Millions of recalls, Billions (that`s with a B) in fines relating to defects, poor quality, failures and cover ups. Day after day, month after month, year after year Toyota continues to deliver the above mentioned. Yes frosty, this is what we call an "epic failure"




Mar 28, 2013 1:11PM
Good to see that an American company like GM is still relative. Technology, innovation, performance and styling with a rich American history reaching back more than a century.
Mar 28, 2013 1:14PM
Toyota is an "epic failure" really? If "failure" means retaking the number one spot in the world for manufacturing, having more vehicles on the IIHS Top Safety Pic than any other brand, having the number one and number three best selling vehicles in the world, the number one best selling sedan in the US, selling more SUV's in the US than any other manufacturer, having more awards from JD Power, being the most reliable brand as a whole than any other, offering the most fuel efficient line up in the world, then Yup, Toyota is a failure LOL!  I bet Toyota is feeling like a failure LOL. Ever thought of working in politics or as a stand up comedian Mac? Because it seems that you cannot tell the truth, and are hilariously funny!!
Mar 29, 2013 4:30AM
Read my last post and weep ladies!
Mar 28, 2013 9:27AM
"Mark Reuss couldn't contain his excitement"?? What president of ANY company COULD contain their excitement after getting a FREE $20 BILLION dollar gift from US taxpayers?? Scum bag.
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