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OnStar changes course on privacy policy

From the We-didn't-mean-it,-can-we-please-just-forget-about-it? department: OnStar announced it would not change its privacy policy on December 1.

CNET reported last week that OnStar would put a new privacy policy in effect on December 1, which would allow it to continue collecting data from cars even after a driver chose not to renew the OnStar service subscription. After what must have been a public relations nightmare, the company said today that the new privacy policy will not take effect, and that no data would be collected by OnStar from non-subscribers.

OnStar President Linda Marshall noted that "Maintaining the data … Read more

10 automakers pioneer app integration

Automakers used to innovate slowly, but this year the race is on for integrating apps into the car, and it is moving at a whirlwind pace. Last year Ford kicked off this new era of car technology by integrating Pandora through its Sync AppLink system, and this year nine other automakers jumped on the bandwagon to some degree.

We were impressed to see both Toyota and GM, in the space of a single year, demonstrate and prepare to launch app integration in 2012 model year vehicles.

App integration means bringing services such as Pandora, Google search, and Twitter into the … Read more

Chevy Orlando makes art car for Quinze & Milan

Belgian design company Quinze & Milan will show a "creative reinterpretation of the new seven-seater" Chevy Orlando at the Superbrands London exhibition occurring September 22 to 25.

The seven-seater Orlando is no longer made for the U.S. market, but it was chosen be in the designers' showcase for the 100th anniversary of Chevrolet.

Making it look a bit like the Volkswagen Polo Harlequin, Quinze & Milan used its QM Foam product on the interior and exterior of the Chevy crossover. The design company said in a press release that the modded car demonstrates QM Foam's versatility … Read more

New OnStar privacy policy expands on data sharing

OnStar is updating its privacy policy--effective this December--with some daring new freedoms that allow it to share your data with more people. In addition, a new clause alludes to a possible sale of business operations, which has been a long-standing rumor surrounding the telematics company.

Regarding a possible sale of OnStar: "There may be instances where we sell some or all of our business operations," says the policy (PDF). "To the extent that the business operation that is sold relates to the equipment, service or data connection, we may transfer your information as part of the transferred … Read more

2012 Chevy Sonic sets a quiet tone (first drive)

Despite its association with drive-in hamburgers, Sonic is a good name for a car, conveying a certain modern fury. However, it doesn't come across as the most descriptive name for Chevy's Aveo replacement, as the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic is anything but loud.

As I maneuvered the high-trim Sonic LTZ sedan through San Francisco, the beginning of a preview drive that would traverse coastal highways and mountains, the suspension neatly damped out the rough pavement and potholes of city streets. Its small 1.4-liter turbocharged engine hummed along quietly as the six-speed manual shifter moved smoothly but precisely through its gate. Where was the boom that the Sonic name suggested? … Read more

iOS 5 gold master expected next week, report says

A new analyst report making the rounds this morning asserts that Apple's putting the finishing touches on iOS 5, and plans to send it to its device assemblers as soon as next week.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of Concord Securities told AppleInsider and MacRumors today that Apple should be delivering the golden master version of iOS 5 between September 23 and 30. That software will then be imaged onto new devices that ship out to stores.

The timing is of special note given expectations of a new iPhone and iPod Touch in the coming weeks. Kuo suggests it will take … Read more

OnStar FMV makes any vehicle a GM vehicle (hands-on)

Let's start with a bit of a confession. Despite having reviewed quite a few OnStar-equipped vehicles from automakers under the General Motors flag, I rarely, if ever, reach up to press that little blue "On" button while driving. There's just something about asking for directions that just doesn't sit right with me. So, it's a bit ironic that my first major immersion into the OnStar ecosystem happened in a Ford vehicle equipped with the OnStar FMV.

The OnStar FMV ("For My Vehicle") is a universal, standalone OnStar receiver that replaces the rearview … Read more

GM teams with LG to develop electric vehicles

General Motors and South Korean conglomerate LG today announced a partnership to jointly develop electric vehicles for sale in different countries.

LG supplies lithium ion battery cells and battery packs for the Chevrolet Volt and the European edition of the Volt, called the Opel Ampera. Although details in today's press release were scant, GM said it intends to expand that battery supply relationship to engineer new electric vehicles.

"Many solutions for tomorrow's transportation needs may be available more quickly by building on our partnership strategy," said GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky in a statement. "Consumers … Read more

GM confirms electric Cadillac on the way

General Motors has officially given the green light to an electrically driven Cadillac called the ELR.

The ELR, which was called the Converj as a concept car, will use the same powertrain system as the Chevy Volt. The car will have a lithium ion battery pack and electric motor to propel the car. When the batteries are running low, a 4-cylinder gas engine kicks in to generate enough charge for the battery to power the motor.

GM said yesterday that development of the ELR is just under way. It will announce details on timing and price later today.

The ELR … Read more

2012 Chevy Sonic features "hill-hold" technology

That reverse-roll some drivers of manual transmission vehicles experience when stopping, and then accelerating, up a hill won't happen for drivers of the 2012 Chevy Sonic.

Chevy's new subcompact car offers a feature usually reserved for SUVs and luxury sedans; hill-hold technology will be available on all manual-transmission models.

Drivers of the 2012 Sonic will have no problem when stopping at the crest of a hill, such as the one on San Francisco's Filbert Street. No more rolling backward before accelerating forward.

"Hill-hold assist uses a pitch sensor that detects the tilt of the body when … Read more