The Chrysler Group announced June 17 nationwide availability of UConnect, its in-vehicle, hands-free, voice-activated communications system. The Chrysler Group says it is the first North American automaker to offer its customers a Bluetooth-enabled automotive application. "Chrysler Group's UConnect system is hands-free, affordable and easy-to-use," said Jack Withrow, director, Vehicle Entertainment and Communications for the Chrysler Group. "UConnect allows each customer to have just one communication device with one telephone number. It's appropriate technology that's in touch with our customers. UConnect is all about safety, freedom and flexibility." UConnect is available as a Mopar dealer-installed offering on the following 2004 model year vehicles:
Chrysler - PT Cruiser, 300M, Concorde, Pacifica, Sebring Coupe, Sebring Sedan, Town & Country
Dodge - Stratus Coupe, Stratus Sedan, Neon, Intrepid, Caravan, Grand Caravan, Dakota, Durango, Ram
Jeep® - Liberty, Grand Cherokee. UConnect debuts in the third quarter as a factory-installed option on the all-new 2004 Chrysler Pacifica. Factory-installation is $275. The cost for the dealer-installed version of UConnect is $299 (suggested retail price) plus labor. Both factory- and dealer-installed versions of UConnect operate similarly. The dealer-installed version consists of a control pad, speaker, microphone, wiring harness and a control module containing voice recognition software and the Bluetooth chipset. The control pad and the microphone are the only visible items to the consumer. According to the company, the control pad is conveniently mounted on the vehicle dashboard and the microphone is attached to the overhead console. A hidden speaker transmits the audio. The factory-installed version allows the audio to be heard through the vehicle's radio speakers and a microphone is housed in the vehicle's rearview mirror serving as the driver interface. In both versions, the user's mobile phone may then be placed wherever the user chooses within the vehicle. Conversations may be continued upon entering or exiting the vehicle, without disrupting the call. Chrysler Group turned to Peiker acustic, Inc., a supplier of communication products in both Europe and North America, to provide the hands-free system for the Mopar dealer-installed version of UConnect. For factory-installation, Johnson Controls (JCI) is the hardware supplier, designing and manufacturing the UConnect control module, and integrating the system's components for the factory-installed version. JCI utilizes Intel's X-Scale microprocessor, IBM's ViaVoice, Bluetooth chipsets from Broadcomm, and QNX's operation system. Gentex supplies rearview mirrors to Chrysler Group, which houses the microphone and buttons for UConnect functionality. According to the comapny, UConnect is adaptable to specific needs and lifestyles. Consumers can use their current carrier and telephone number or sign up for enhanced services with AT&T Wireless. It's hassle-free, using one phone and one phone number. A wide range of personal services are provided through AT&T Wireless' #121 VoiceInfo, which delivers features such as sports, stock quotes and breaking news at no additional monthly fee. UConnect allows up to five phones to be used within the vehicle's system, adapting to an individual or a family. UConnect is the first generation in a family of hands-free, voice-activated, Bluetooth-powered offerings. Mopar also plans to offer UConnect in the future to customers of past model year Chrysler Group vehicles.