Editor’s Note: The AppShop feature noted below has been delayed and will not be available in 2015 model year vehicles. We remain committed to bringing this technology to market at a later date.
Beginning this summer, owners of most 2015 Buick models can stay connected by the high-speed data of OnStar 4G LTE. Thanks to a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot passengers will be able to browse the Internet, download movies, play games or send email on up to seven devices at once while on the go.
Buick announced today at the DENT Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho that the 2015 LaCrosse, Regal, Verano and Encore will all come standard with OnStar 4G LTE hardware, with data packages available for an additional charge. OnStar 4G LTE will be in every Buick model by the 2016 model year in the U.S. and Canada.
Roger McCormack, Buick product marketing director, answered our questions on what this technology means for the brand, what’s been fueling sales growth and where he sees Buick going in the future.
FastLane: Why are DENT and the introduction of 4G LTE important to Buick?
Roger McCormack: Over its 110-year history, Buick has been a leader of innovation. We continue that trend by being one of the first to market with OnStar 4G LTE connectivity in our vehicles. Combined with the Buick AppShop, we are really seeing one of the first applications of an automotive infotainment system that can be updated and enhanced over time, much like your smartphone. The Dent Conference is a place where all aspects of innovation are discussed and strategized. Leaders, like those attending Dent, are always looking to drive and shape the future. Buick and OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi, lay a lot of groundwork for countless opportunities to rethink how society interacts with transportation wants and needs. It’s really an ideal match.
FL: Who is buying Buick vehicles today?
RM: It’s really a great mix of old and new-to-the-family buyers. Of course our loyal Buick buyers are coming back to the refinement, comfort and sculpted elegance that attracted them to the brand in the first place. At the same time, we’re bringing in a whole new buyer. Cars like the sporty 259 hp Regal GS and the maneuverable, versatile and efficient small luxury crossover Encore are attracting customers that have never considered Buick in the past.
FL: Buick had a record sales year in 2013. What has been fueling growth?
RM: It all comes down to great products. We’ve turned over our entire lineup over the last couple of years. With the Encore we introduced Buick luxury to a new and growing segment, which really broadens our reach into the market. Across the lineup, we upped the ante on traditional Buick attributes of beautiful designs with comfortable and quiet interiors, while at the same time surprising people with the most advanced safety and infotainment technologies in the business. For instance, it surprises people to learn that every Buick offers forward collision alert, side blind zone alert, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert and rear vision camera.
FL: How important is China for Buick?
RM: It’s really a two way street. Success in North America and in China helps in both locations. It affords us a global toolbox of resources and ideas and also provides additional scale that makes it easier to bring great products to both markets. For instance, we sold 35,748 Encores in the U.S. last year while 61,563 were sold in China, and we sold 51,571 Veranos in the U.S. and 15,521 in China.
FL: What’s next for Buick?
RM: Great vehicles and innovative technologies. I can’t talk specifically about future products, but I can say we are excited about some great new stuff we have planned. Additionally, as discussed above, we will surprise some people by being one of the first to market with new technologies like OnStar 4G LTE connectivity.
Roger McCormack was named director, Buick Product Marketing in April 2010. In that role he is responsible for brand marketing strategy and product planning for all Buick models.