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GM President: Too Soon to Tell Whether Apple or Google Is Ahead in Cars

GM wants to ensure whatever system it puts in a car can accommodate shifts in the types of phones people use.


While General Motors sees a role for both Apple and Google in its cars, its president said Tuesday it’s still too early to say whether those companies or another technology name will win the battle for in-vehicle electronics.

“I think it is too soon to call,” said GM President Dan Ammann, speaking at the Rutberg Global Summit in Atlanta.

In-vehicle electronics and wireless connectivity are shaping up as a key battleground in the mobile business, drawing interest from many big names including Apple, Google, BlackBerry, Qualcomm and Nvidia, to name a few.

Ammann said that GM is a part of Google’s Open Automotive Alliance and has also worked with Apple to bring Siri to some of its cars.

“We are engaged with all the major players you would expect,” Ammann said. He also said that the company wants to ensure whatever system it puts in a car can accommodate shifts in the types of phones people use.

Ammann agreed with a rival carmaker that autonomous cars will arrive by 2020, but also said that they won’t drop in like something out of the Jetsons. Instead, he noted that cars have been slowly adding individual autonomous capabilities ever since anti-lock braking arrived 20 years ago.

GM has also said it will equip its future cars with LTE service from AT&T, but has yet to comment on pricing. Ammann didn’t add details there but said the company sees both a direct-to-consumer and business-to-business revenue opportunity.

Ammann added that, with OnStar, GM already has a connected car business with seven million customers. Some 185,000 people press OnStar’s blue button each day, he said.

“It’s a very real thing that is out there right now,” Ammann said.

On the car-sharing phenomenon, Ammann said GM needs to include shared vehicles in its vision for the connected car.

“It’s real,” Amman said. “It’s happening. It’s here to stay. … It’s a natural evolution of high-density urban living.”

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