GM puts Alexa on the move with in-vehicle integration

GM puts Alexa on the Move with In-Vehicle Integration

GM puts Alexa on the move with in-vehicle integration


The pressure on Rivian to nail the engineering, manufacturing and quality of its electric vehicles just got amped up – way up – with the news Thursday morning that Amazon has placed an order for 100,000 delivery vehicles from the suburban Detroit startup. Rivian spokeswoman Amy Mast said the first Amazon delivery vehicles are expected to be on the road in 2021. She said work on developing a delivery vehicle based on Rivian's battery-electric powertrain and chassis has been underway for some time.

The vehicle – most likely a van — would use the same basic architecture and power electronics planned for the R1T electric pickup and the R1S electric SUV. But Mast said it will have a redesigned suspension system, a different interior and Amazon-specific application software.

Rivian has not built or sold its first vehicle yet, but the Plymouth, Mich.,startup is backed by at least $1.5 billion in recent investments from Amazon, Ford Motor Co. and Cox Automotive. Rivian is retooling the former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Ill,. and expects to start production of the pickup and SUV next year.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, at a press event in Washington on Thursday, said the Rivian order would help the giant online retailer meets its pledge to become net carbon neutral by 2040. Amazon's current delivery fleet uses internal combustion engines.

Mast said Rivian's goal is to have 10,000 of the electric delivery vehicles on the road by 2022. When all 100,000 vehicles are on the road it would prevent 4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year.

Source: CNET


In a move that bucks the industry's general direction in vehicle development, Volkswagen Group has begun informing its global suppliers that they will be off the hook for almost all the software required to operate the advanced parts and technologies running through Volkswagen's cars. Volkswagen has decided to put itself on that hook.v

Source: Automotive News


With under six weeks to go before the U.K. is scheduled to exit the European Union, automakers are warning that departing without a deal would have dire consequences for their industry. Over decades, Europe’s carmakers have developed supply chains that depend on the smooth movement of goods across the bloc. Each vehicle is built from about 30,000 parts, many crossing borders multiple times. An end to barrier-free trade would disrupt these just-in-time operating models, with each minute of stalled production in the U.K. alone costing some 50,000 pounds ($62,500), the trade groups estimated.

Source: Bloomberg


Consumers looking to buy a 2020 Jeep Gladiator pickup may have to wait. Parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles issued a recall for the popular new model and told dealers to stop selling certain Gladiators until a fix can be made on the rear driveshaft. 

On Sept. 5, FCA issued a voluntary recall for 2020 Jeep Gladiators built from Dec. 15, 2018 through June 25, 2019 and told dealers to stop selling them. These vehicles may have a part in the rear driveshaft that was assembled without grease. Even though it sounds minor and only covers 3,427 Gladiators, a monoblock joint in the driveshaft made without grease can overheat and seize, causing the rear driveshaft to fracture. A fractured driveshaft can cause the truck to lose power or the driveshaft can separate from the vehicle creating road debris. Both eventualities could be very bad for the driver and surrounding vehicles. Six warranty claims have been made so far, according to FCA paperwork filed to the NHSTA on Sept. 10.

Current owners will be notified by Oct. 18, and Jeep will fix the driveshaft at no charge. 

Dealers tempted to sell the new Gladiator, which is reportedly getting markups of thousands of dollars over the manufacturer's suggested retail price, could face steep charges. If dealers continue to sell the affected Gladiators after the stop-sale order, they’ll have to pay to the feds up to $21,000 for each affected vehicle. The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is a top draw for dealers. It has a base price of $35,040 including destination, a fully loaded Rubicon reaches about $65,000, and consumers pay about $56,000 on average. 
Owners can call FCA at 1-800-853-1403, or enter their VINs at the NHTSA site to learn if their trucks are affected by the recall.

Source: The Car Connection


Volkswagen AG’s two top leaders, Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess and Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch, were charged with market manipulation in Germany over allegations they failed to inform investors early enough about the diesel-emission scandal. Former CEO Martin Winterkorn was also charged in the case, according to the indictment filed by Braunschweig prosecutors on Tuesday. The shares fell as much as 2.7% in Frankfurt, the most in almost six weeks.

Source: Bloomberg


German prosecutors fined Daimler AG 870 million euros ($960 million) for “negligent violation of supervisory duties” to settle a probe into selling rigged diesel cars. Prosecutors found the maker of Mercedes-Benz cars sold about 684,000 vehicles that didn’t completely comply with regulations on emissions of nitrogen oxides, according to statements from Stuttgart authorities and Daimler. The company agreed not to contest the verdict and confirmed its financial guidance.

Source: Bloomberg,  


A senior manager at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV was charged in connection with the Justice Department’s probe into excess emissions in diesel vehicles, according to documents unsealed Tuesday. Emanuele Palma, a diesel drivability and emissions senior manager at Fiat Chrysler, was charged with conspiring to commit wire fraud, defraud the United States, violating the Clean Air Act and making false statements about the emissions system used on Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. diesel vehicles.

Source: Reuters


If Trump goes ahead with his threatened tariffs on auto parts, that could raise the price of myriad imported components beyond batteries, throwing a wrench into Mercedes’s manufacturing strategy. Potentially at risk: some of the 8,000 jobs the automaker and its suppliers have brought to Alabama.

Source: Bloomberg


The latest reading of used-car sales projections shows a fairly strong market, including the certified pre-owned segment of the industry. ALG is expecting the third quarter will wrap up with 10.26 million pre-owned sales for the quarter. While that would be off 3.9% from the second quarter, it would be a 1.8% hike from Q3 of 2018. September should end up with 3.42 million used-car sales, ALG said, which would beat year-ago figures by 3.4% and remain relatively steady with August numbers (up 0.1%). Edmunds is calling for 3.3 million used-car sales this month, versus 3.4 million last month. The resulting seasonally adjusted annualized rate would be 39.7 million, against 39.8 million last month.

Source: Auto Remarketing


General Motors on Wednesday said it will offer built-in Amazon Alexa Auto integration through the infotainment systems of its new vehicles starting early next year. Owners of 2018 and 2019 models will be able to get the voice-controlled virtual assistant added to their vehicle though an over-the-air update, GM and Amazon said. Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick and GMC customers will be able to link their Amazon Alexa account to the vehicle and access it via the voice command button on the steering wheel or through an icon on the touch screen. Vehicles must be from 2018 or newer and have a compatible infotainment system.

Alexa powers Amazon devices such as the Echo and Echo Show. It plays music, provides real-time information, serves as a home automation system and more. GM owners will be able to access standard Alexa capabilities, and GM eventually can create custom skills relevant to the customer's vehicle, GM and Amazon said in a statement. "We are reacting to customer insights directly from our studies," Santiago Chamorro, GM's vice president of global connected services, told Automotive News. "What they are telling us very clearly is that they have voice assistants that they love and use at home, and they want to carry them into the vehicle."

Some in-vehicle technologies have failed to impress consumers. A 2018 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that infotainment systems developed by tech companies are less distracting than many vehicles' built-in infotainment systems.

The partnership is the broadest rollout of an embedded Alexa Auto experience, GM and Amazon said. Some automakers, including BMW, Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp., connect with Alexa via an iOS or Android app rather than the infotainment system.

Last year, Amazon released the Alexa Auto Software Development Kit, which gave automakers and suppliers a way to integrate Alexa's core functions into in-vehicle infotainment systems. GM is the first to install Alexa in its vehicles through the kit, an Amazon spokesman said.

The GM integration relies on onboard connectivity, so Alexa is fully integrated without an outside app, the spokesman said. GM owners who have a data plan and an Alexa account will be able to scan a code to link their accounts with their vehicles.

GM owners can use Alexa for basics such as checking the news or adding items to their Amazon shopping carts. They also can control smart devices at home, such as lights or a thermostat, or navigate to an address or point of interest, such as a nearby dealership or coffee shop. Alexa integrates with the vehicle's embedded navigation system or OnStar's turn-by-turn navigation system.

Drivers also can make phone calls through Alexa and play music, podcasts or audiobooks.

The integration is the latest phase of GM and Amazon's partnership. In 2018, GM launched in-car delivery with Key by Amazon and a series of connected-car skills for Alexa. Connected-car skills included in-home commands for the vehicle. For example, a GM owner could start the car and start defrosting the windshield on a winter morning. With in-vehicle integration, the scenario is flipped; drivers can access their home thermostat from the vehicle.

Source: Automotive News