It is a clear — and arguably sad — reflection of American consumer tastes that U.S. automakers are rolling out vehicle in-dash marketplaces that prioritize buying pizza and paying for fuel above all else. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, or FCA, is the latest such carmaker to jump on the pizza-from-your-dash bandwagon.
- FCA will push an OTA to its 2019 and 2020 model year Chrysler, Ram, Jeep, and Dodge vehicles enabling new Uconnect Market.
- With Uconnect Market, drivers can buy gas at Shell, order pizza from Domino’s, secure a parking spot with ParkWhiz, and book a dinner reservation with Yelp Reservations.
- Market will go live sometime in the second half of 2019.
- This rollout is a part of FCA’s new Android-powered “ecosystem” ideal for electric vehicles and mobility services.
FCA announced this week that it will be pushing an over-the-air (OTA) update to its 2019 and 2020 model year Chrysler, Ram, Jeep, and Dodge vehicles outfitted with the brand’s 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system that enables the new Uconnect Market. The launch will happen sometime in the second half of 2019.
Co-developed by Xevo, a Seattle-based firm that was recently acquired by Lear Corporation, Uconnect Market will facilitate the purchase of pizzas from Domino’s, enable pre-purchasing of fuel at participating Shell stations and parking spots at garages on the ParkWhiz system, and even allow drivers the ability reserve a table at a nearby participating restaurant through Yelp Reservations.
2019 and 2020 model year Chrysler, Ram, Jeep, and Dodge vehicles will receive Uconnect Market over an OTA update. (Photo: FCA)
Once Uconnect Market is pushed to your dash, you simply need to open up the app and load a credit card into the system’s wallet. With that stored, you’ll be able to activate its purchasing power. The system is designed to do more than save precious seconds at the Shell station pump, for example, FCA says drivers will have the chance to save on fuel purchases, too. However, it didn’t detail by how much. Nor did it designate how many Shell stations will be participating in the initial rollout.
“Our customers live busy lives, and our goal with the Uconnect platform is to provide an advanced portfolio of services to make their daily drive more convenient, productive and enjoyable,” Alan D’Agostini, Global Head of Connected Services, FCA, said in a prepared statement. “This is why we are launching Uconnect Market, as we continue to ramp-up our connectivity efforts around the world with the goal of having all new FCA vehicles connected by 2022.”
This marketplace launch follows an announcement by FCA earlier this year, during which it revealed it was working with HARMAN, owned by Samsung, and Google Technologies to bring a new Android-powered “ecosystem” (FCA uses quotes around the word in all of its press releases for some reason). This “ecosystem,” FCA says, “provides optimal environment for electric vehicles and mobility services.”
Not only can you pre-pay for fuel at participating Shell stations, you could potentially save money on your fill up. (Photo: FCA)
FCA hasn’t said much about new EVs, of which it only has one pure-electric vehicle, the Fiat 500e. And this Market doesn’t apply to that vehicle. Nor has FCA discussed a mobility service quite yet. Likely, this means both are in the works. Of course, that is, in addition to the deal FCA has with Google’s Waymo, which it expanded in late May to include 62,000 additional Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans joining Waymo’s driverless fleet.
The Uconnect Market isn’t entirely novel. In fact, it’s quite nearly the same sort of offering currently being touted by General Motors, which also launched a Xevo-powered marketplace in its vehicles in late March. Similarly, GM vehicles can order Domino’s and pay for Shell fuel through their in-dash touchscreens.
You’d think the cross-town rivals would either source their in-car marketplace tech from separate firms or either offer distinct purchasing options. I mean, I know Domino’s is popular and Shell stations are rather ubiquitous, but, c’mon. What about Chevron and Pizza Hut? If we must go with gasoline and pizza brands, there are more than two to pick from.