GM wants you to shop from your car for food, gasoline and hotels

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CLOSETOP AUTO NEWS Dozens of companies now testing self-driving vehicles | 0:39

Dozens of companies in California are reportedly now test self-driving cars, with Samsung being the latest corporation to get permission from the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Wochit

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CLOSETOP AUTO NEWS Consumer Reports ranks 2017's most reliable cars | 1:30

Searching for a new car? You’ll want to check out Consumer Reports’ list of the top 10 most reliable cars for 2017. The list is based on data collected from more than 640,000 vehicles. Wochit

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CLOSETOP AUTO NEWS American-Made Index: Toledo Jeep | 3:40

The Wrangler has been built in Toledo, Ohio, since 1941.

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CLOSETOP AUTO NEWS Ford recalling 1.3M F-150 and Super Duty trucks | 0:47

Ford Motor Co said on Wednesday it would recall about 1.3 million vehicles in North America to add a water shield to side door latches. Wochit

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CLOSETOP AUTO NEWS GM donates $5 million to The Henry Ford | 0:54

The automaker wants to support the mission of the iconic museum and promote education. Wochit

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CLOSETOP AUTO NEWS 2017 BMW 540i xDrive video review | 1:15

Sport sedan’s appeal rests on room, comfort and convenient tech. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press

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CLOSETOP AUTO NEWS Why a sale of Fiat Chrysler to a Chinese automaker could happen | 1:02

In today’s political environment, a sale of Fiat Chrysler, the Italian-American automaker, to a Chinese company seems far-fetched. But analysts say it could happen. Here’s why: USA TODAY

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CLOSETOP AUTO NEWS Jeep sales skyrocketing could save Fiat Chrysler | 0:46

Jeep’s annual sales are forecasted to jump about 30 percent in 2018 to 2 million vehicles. Time

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CLOSETOP AUTO NEWS GM designers show off their personal dream cars | 2:25

The people who create tomorrow’s vehicles celebrate their favorites from the past. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press

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CLOSETOP AUTO NEWS Nissan starts autumn with a new Leaf | 1:06

Nissan is launching a revamped version of its Leaf electric vehicle, going head-to-head with Tesla’s Model 3 and beating off criticism that a limited driving range will dull its mass-market appeal. Newslook

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CLOSETOP AUTO NEWS House speeds deployment of self-driving cars | 1:06

The U.S. House approved a proposal that would allow automakers to obtain exemptions to deploy self-driving vehicles without meeting existing auto safety standards. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters Newslook

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CLOSETOP AUTO NEWS Speed and luxury packed inside spicy 2-seat Mercedes | 0:50

2018’s Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster ups the ante in luxury sports cars. USA TODAY

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  • Dozens of companies now testing self-driving vehicles
  • Consumer Reports ranks 2017's most reliable cars
  • American-Made Index: Toledo Jeep
  • Ford recalling 1.3M F-150 and Super Duty trucks
  • GM donates $5 million to The Henry Ford
  • 2017 BMW 540i xDrive video review
  • Why a sale of Fiat Chrysler to a Chinese automaker could happen
  • Jeep sales skyrocketing could save Fiat Chrysler
  • GM designers show off their personal dream cars
  • Nissan starts autumn with a new Leaf
  • House speeds deployment of self-driving cars
  • Speed and luxury packed inside spicy 2-seat Mercedes

General Motors’ new Marketplace app allows customers to order food, find the closest gas station and make dinner and hotel reservations while driving.(Photo: General Motors photo)

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General Motors’ vision of mobility now includes the ability to buy coffee, donuts, make restaurant and hotel reservations from the road using a dashboard touch screen.

The app, called Marketplace, is rolling out this month in all 2017 and 2018 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models.

That means about 1.9 million vehicles in the U.S. can now have access to the service, and Santiago Chamorro, GM vice president for global connected customer experience, said it will be available on nearly 4 million vehicles over the next 18 months. 

The app, which is represented by the letter m in brackets, [m], is free, but the variety of vendors is somewhat limited at the beginning. There are six categories: “Fuel up,” “Find Parking,” “Order Food,” “Reserve Table,” “Reserve Hotel,” “Shop for Car.”

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So far, GM has agreements with Shell and Exxon Mobil for the fuel app; with Parkopedia for services that locate parking spots; Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Applebee’s, Wingstop, IHOP and delivery for food; TGI Fridays for table reservations, and Priceline for hotel reservations.

The “Shop for Car” category connects with GM dealers and notifies vehicle owners of discounts on parts and accessories, and eventually will include services such as oil changes or tire rotations, Chamorro said. 

“We will be adding more vendors and we will improve it,” Chamorro said. 

Some, but not all, of the participating merchants have agreed to share revenue with GM  from additional sales that can be accurately traced to Marketplace users. No private customer data will be shared with vendors without a customer’s consent, he said.

The app is not dependent on GM’s subscription-based OnStar roadside assistance and customer support service. Neither is it dependent on such outside smartphone software such as Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. 

Drivers can and will use the app while driving, a capability that may draw criticism from safety advocates.

David Strayer, a University of Utah psychology professor who has studied how consumers use infotainment systems, released a study in October that many features in 2017 vehicles are so distracting they should not be enabled while a vehicle is in motion. 

“With the best intentions, we will put some technology in the car that we think will make the car safer, but people being people will use that technology in ways that we don’t anticipate,” Strayer said in a release describing his research. 

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To minimize the time needed to interact with any one function, GM designers limited the choices on the Marketplace app. For example, if a customer calls up Dunkin Donuts, she will not see the entire menu, but instead just the last two or three orders she placed there. 

Chamorro said software developers adhered to industry guidelines to combat distracted driving, and GM designs such systems to minimize manual interactions with the touch screen. 

Data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the Urban Institute published in 2015 found the average American spends 46 minutes per day driving.

“Leveraging connectivity and our unique data capabilities, we have an opportunity to make every trip more productive and give our customers time back,” Chamorro said.

Greg Gardner: or ggardner99. Follow him on Twitter .

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