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Chrysler launches smartphone apps

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Chrysler launches smartphone apps

Alisa Priddle / The Detroit News

Jeep Grand Cherokee -- there's an app for that.

Chrysler Group LLC today announced it is introducing a smartphone application to download vehicle information, starting with the 2011 Grand Cherokee -- the newest vehicle in the automaker's showroom.

"We will be the first in the industry to introduce free, downloadable vehicle owner-information apps for smartphones," said Pietro Gorlier, head of Mopar, in announcing the move on a webcast.

The Grand Cherokee information will be available starting Saturday and there will be a free app for all Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram vehicles by the end of the year as part of the new initiative introduced by Mopar for the U.S. market.

The idea recognizes that consumers spend a lot more time searching for information via their smartphones than rummaging through their glove box. Gorlier said it is a way to leverage current technology while promoting the features of new vehicles and strengthening the automaker's brands.

Anyone can download information about the vehicle, operating instructions and warning lights, maintenance schedules, and warranties, as well as view videos demonstrating features, access social media to connect with fellow owners, contact customer care and roadside assistance. It also covers instructions for the navigation system.

The expectation is it will increase showroom traffic. "We think it will enhance the traffic, giving the customer the opportunity to learn about the vehicle on their smart phone first and then visit the dealership to experience the vehicle," Gorlier said.

"With our vehicle-information app, we are taking customer care to a new level by creating a convenient, on-demand channel of communication with our customers," Gorlier said.

At launch, the app will be available in English for only the U.S. market, Gorlier said. "However, other markets are currently under consideration."

A version for Canada is being developed.

While it was designed for new vehicles, Gorlier said the automaker will also look at making it available on older models.

The app was developed by Tweddle Group, which has offices in Detroit, and will be available initially on Apple iPhones and later on BlackBerry and Android devices. Major mobile carriers will include AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint.

"This app will provide Chrysler Group's customers with a dynamic tool that will enable them to get the most out of the features and capabilities offered in their new vehicles," said Andrew Tweddle, chief executive of the Tweddle Group

Chrysler took its first digital step last year when it replaced the thick owner manuals for its vehicles with DVDs and condensed user guides. The automaker said the information that can be downloaded onto phones take these initiatives a step further and allows consumers to browse topics related to their car or truck.

Using the phone, customers can also research Mopar parts and accessories and brand gear and merchandise as well as pictures and videos of vehicles.

Gorlier doesn't think Chrysler will hold its lead in this field for long. "There is a lot of interest currently in this area."

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100617/AUTO01/6170446/1148/auto01/Chrysler-launches-smartphone-apps#ixzz0r9MYB5BG

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