Buick Introduces Apple CarPlay Capability

2016 LaCrosse and Regal add phone integration technology

NEW YORK – 06.23.2015 – As the world becomes increasingly connected, Buick remains at the forefront of new applications and connectivity that provide customers with a seamless, integrated driving experience.

That legacy advances with new Apple CarPlay capability for smartphones offered in all 2016 Regal and LaCrosse models. Buick made the announcement at the C3 Connected Car Conference in New York City.

The technology connects a smartphone through Buick’s IntelliLink system, integrating applications such as navigation, hands-free text messaging, contact lists and entertainment apps for news or music onto the eight-inch-diagonal IntelliLink radio display. Later in the model year, Android Auto capability will also be offered with IntelliLink.

“Buick understands the importance of connectivity integration in everyday life and this new connection technology provides drivers with a smart and simple way to have all the conveniences of their mobile devices safely at their fingertips,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick. “It’s another step in building and implementing technology that consistently puts our customers first.”

Apple CarPlay takes the iPhone features customers want to access while driving and puts them on the vehicle’s display in a smart, simple manner. This allows drivers to make calls, send and receive messages and listen to music right from the touchscreen or by voice via Siri. Apple CarPlay-supported apps include Phone, Messages, Maps, Music and compatible third-party apps. A full list of those apps can be found at Apple.com/ios/carplay. Apple CarPlay is compatible with iOS 7.1 or higher.

Android Auto is built around Google Maps, Google Now and the ability to talk to Google, as well as a growing audio and messaging app ecosystem that includes WhatsApp, Skype, Google Play Music, Spotify and podcast players. A full list of supported apps is available at g.co/androidauto. Android Auto requires a phone running an Android Lollipop 5.0 operating system or higher.

Using both applications is simple. A “Projection” icon on the IntelliLink screen is visible when a phone is not connected, then changes to indicate CarPlay or Android Auto when a compatible phone is connected via USB.

A majority of the smartphone applications with the respective systems are controlled via voice commands through a steering wheel button, which ensures drivers keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel. Compatible apps need to be downloaded to a phone before using. Apple and Google’s privacy statements and terms of use apply. Data plan rates may also apply.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability complement the OnStar 4G LTE connectivity with Wi-Fi hotspot offered in all 2016 Buick models, including Verano, Encore and Enclave.

The state-of-the-art technology provides a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected wherever and whenever they like, with up to seven personal devices. The hotspot is on whenever the vehicle is on and comes with a three-month/three gigabyte data trial, after which there is an option to purchase additional data.


Leading Auto Sculptors and Designers Credit Dad for Creative Calling

Experts say both nature and nurture play a role in determining artistic talent

WARREN, Mich. – 06.18.2015 – Roman Lys went from carving his own childhood toys from wood in Poland – out of necessity – to creating intricate vehicle exterior feature lines in clay as a master sculptor in the Buick design studio.

His son, Robert Lys, is a lead sculptor in another brand studio, and doesn’t believe the father-son career connection is mere coincidence. Another son, Daniel, also is a sculptor in GM Design.

“I was fortunate to learn from my father, and to also be able to study in a formal setting,” said Robert Lys, who joined his father at General Motors in 2003. “You have to be born with some talent, then take it to another level through school and training.”

The Lys family is one of several within Buick where children have followed their fathers into a vehicle design career.

Experts in academia and elsewhere have tackled the nature vs. nurture question for generations through studies and scholarly papers. Like Robert Lys, most agree that when it comes to creativity, it’s probably both.

“It is most likely that designers are designers because of both environmental and genetic factors,” said Kelly Klump, Ph.D, a professor of psychology at Michigan State University in East Lansing. “They were genetically given abilities and raised in a family where they get to see firsthand from their parents what they do, what the workday is, and how they get involved.”

In a survey conducted last year by Fast Company magazine, a quarter of the publication’s list of Most Creative People in Business credited their parents for focusing their creative abilities. But 73 percent said creativity can be learned and a full third of those polled said their creativity was self-taught, a result of their own inquisitiveness and desire to create something new.

Liz Wetzel, director of Buick interior design, was in charge of the interior designs for the award-winning Buick Avenir concept and Buick Cascada convertible. She has nearly 30 years of experience at GM Design, was the company’s first female vehicle design chief and is the fourth generation in her family with a career in the automotive industry.

“Growing up, weekends were spent as a family at car rallies and racetracks,” said Wetzel, who credits her father, Jay, a retired GM vice president and engineer, as a creative leadership influence. Wetzel’s grandfather worked for Chrysler and her great-grandfather was a tool-and-die maker for the Hudson Motor Co.

Wetzel enrolled at the University of Michigan to study art and design, but decided to pursue automotive design following a tour of the GM Design Center, arranged by her dad. “Everything about it – from the airbrushed renderings of future models and sketches on the tables to the full-size clay models – was captivating. Even the smell of the clay was enticing.”

Sculptor Matt Brancheau, who joined the Buick studio three years ago to support the Buick Enclave SUV and the Avenir concept, doesn’t have to look very far to name his source of inspiration: It was his father, Gary, a metal model maker.

“He is a true artist at what he does,” said Brancheau, whose mother, Roberta, is an artist. His sister, Rita, designs convertible tops for a competitor. All the cool cars he worked on, the attention to detail, was truly a wow factor growing up.”

Ed Welburn, vice president of GM Design, also credits his dad for his decision to attend Howard University’s College of Fine Arts, where he studied sculpture and product design. Welburn joined GM in 1972 and a year later, was working in the Buick Exterior studio on the Buick Riviera and Park Avenue.

“My father owned an auto body repair shop in Philadelphia and I would draw cars all the time,” said Welburn. When there was no paper around, I would take a book from the bookshelves and I would draw on the first page.

“If it weren’t for the fact that he owned that business, I don’t know that I would have been as interested in cars as I am.”

As for Roman and Robert Lys, they’re working hard to promote the nurture aspect of creativity. Together, they’ve worked with more than 700 students from Detroit’s College for Creative Studies during the past 12 years, teaching them the basics of sculpting and instilling in them the patience and attention to detail that’s necessary in such a precise, creative environment.

Many of their students have joined GM as designers.

“We have one goal, which is to create beautiful cars,” said Robert Lys.

Buick Cascada Blends Safety and Style

Reinforced structure contributes to sleek design

DETROIT – 06.16.2015 – The 2016 Buick Cascada convertible rolls into the sun early next year with a reinforced structure designed to complement its refined appearance and enhance its versatility, while bolstering the car’s strength, rigidity and chassis precession.

Special features include spring-loaded, pyrotechnically activated roll bars behind the front seats that are linked to the air bag system.

“Intelligent design is a hallmark of Buick’s renaissance and the all-new Cascada advances that legacy with seamless integration of great convertible design and safety,” said Holt Ware, Buick exterior design director. “It’s a design that fosters the Cascada’s clean, uninterrupted lines while helping enable confident, top-down driving enjoyment.”

The body structure allows the top, its folding mechanism and the roll bar apparatus to be stowed below the car’s “belt line” and under a hard tonneau cover, for a smooth, uninterrupted profile. It also enhances cargo space, with a 22.4-inch by 12.6-inch (320 mm by 570 mm) pass-through from the trunk to the passenger compartment. When the 50/50-split rear seat is folded, longer items such as skis and wakeboards can be stowed inside.

“There are no design compromises with the Cascada,” said Ware. “The structural elements enhance the driving experience, not intrude on it.”

The roll bar system, for example, enables the rear-seat cargo pass-through, because it is less obtrusive than some vehicles’ hoop-style pop-up protection systems. When deployed, the roll bars extend approximately 14 inches (358 mm) to match the height of the windshield.

It is also a lighter system than others, which enhances performance and agility.

The Cascada’s strategically reinforced body structure supports the roll bar system and is the foundation for the car’s strength and responsive driving experience. Elements include:

  • A-pillars featuring press-hardened steel in the inner structures and reinforced with high-strength, hot-rolled and cold-bent tubes within the pillars
  • Reinforced rocker panels with increased cross section
  • Underbody reinforcements including X-braces, V-braces and additional brackets
  • A reinforced “torsion box” bulkhead behind the rear seats that incorporates the pop-up roll bars

As a result of the structure’s rigidity, engineers were able to tune the suspension and steering systems with a high degree of precision, because they didn’t have to compensate for chassis flex.

“That stiffness is at the core of the Cascada’s precise, refined driving experience,” said Bernd Pohl, Cascada structural engineer. “It is exceptionally responsive, with great driver feedback.”

About the Cascada

The Cascada goes on sale in early 2016. It will be the first Buick convertible offered in the United States in 25 years and the latest globally developed vehicle to join the brand’s growing portfolio.

The Cascada’s 2+2 configuration offers comfortable room for four adults. Its expressive driving experience is rooted in a rigid body structure, Buick’s sophisticated HiPer Strut front suspension and responsive Watts Z-link suspension in the rear – along with a 200-horsepower (149 kW) turbocharged engine.

When it comes to dropping the top on a whim, the electro-hydraulic power roof system lowers in only 17 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph. Multilayer construction offers superior thermal and acoustic insulation for driving comfort in all seasons.

Inside, a thoughtfully trimmed and comprehensively equipped cabin reflects Buick’s renaissance. The instrument panel is wrapped with soft-touch material featuring authentic stitching, while heated front seats and steering wheel offer comfort in colder weather conditions.

Advanced safety features include Lane Departure Warning, Rear Park Assist and a standard rearview camera.

The Buick Cascada also offers plenty of storage space, including 13.4 cubic feet of cargo room with the top up and 9.8 cubic feet with the top down.