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Buick Launches New IntelliLink System - New York Auto Show

by Autotrader April 2011

April 20, 2011

In the world of Buick, everything is looking up. At a pre-auto show press conference, Buick, a GM brand that has grown 49 percent in the past year, announced it's latest infotainment and connectivity tech treatment on the coming 2012 Regal, LaCrosse and Verano. It's called IntelliLink.

A variation on the recently announced Chevrolet Mylink system, the easy-to-use interface pulls together OnStar with smartphone technology and adds popular partners like Pandora, Stitcher, Gracenote and Nuance on a new touch screen system. The result is a high-res, colorful, easy to read screen with bold graphics and fun icons.

Dial back to 1996, before smart phones were on the scene. OnStar made its impact on the auto industry as forerunner of in-car telematics systems. Since its inception 15 years ago, OnStar has grown from simply offering automatic crash notification and security features to including remote vehicle diagnostics, turn-by-turn navigation and the ability to slow down stolen vehicles. In November 2010, OnStar released a smartphone application for all 2011 Buick vehicles that incorporated remote start, lock/unlock and vehicle status checks.

Buick IntelliLink goes beyond all that. The system uses Bluetooth or USB to connect the driver's smartphone to a 7- or 8-inch, high-resolution, full-color touch screen display, allowing smartphone control via voice activation or steering wheel-mounted controls.

"Today's tech-savvy consumers expect more from their cars' infotainment systems," said Tony DiSalle, U.S. vice president of Buick Marketing. "They want a system that allows them to customize their in-vehicle experience with smartphones and other portable media devices. The availability of IntelliLink on every Buick sedan in 2012 and every Buick model in 2013 takes connectivity and media personalization to a new level."

The writing is on the wall. Apple sold 16.2 million iPhones in the fourth quarter of 2010 and Android sales rose 886 percent from 2009 to 2010. According to the research firm Parks Associates Industries, by the end of 2013, there will be 1.1 billion smartphones with annual sales of 300 million units.

"About 70 percent of all new car buyers want some form of connectivity," noted Micky Bly, the executive director leading GM's infotainment engineering efforts, citing GM research. "Whether it's because they want to listen to their favorite music or explore local restaurants on a Friday night, today's car buyer expects so much more out of their time in a car."

However, one doesn't need a smartphone to benefit from IntelliLink. The system works with a Bluetooth enabled cell phone, USB flash drive or digital audio player.

And, just in case you don't have a mobile device, Buick owners can still use IntelliLink's voice recognition technology and OnStar's onscreen turn-by-turn directions.

HOLLY REICH writes about cars, travel, lifestyle and more. Her work has been featured in publications that include: Elite Traveler, The New York Daily News, The Washington Post and The Boston Herald. She contributes monthly to Motor Matters syndicate and her blog, "Riffs on Rides," appears on

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Buick Launches New IntelliLink System - New York Auto Show - Autotrader