In-Car Tech

BMW adding wireless Android Auto in 2020, ditching Apple CarPlay fee

Google recently enhanced its Android Auto interface.

Photo courtesy of Google

Better late than never. BMW has announced that they will add wireless Android Auto to their vehicles starting in July 2020. The German automaker already offers Apple CarPlay, and in 2017 because the first company to make wireless CarPlay available.

In 2018, BMW became the first automaker to charge specifically for Apple CarPlay, requiring customers to cough up $80 per year for the tech. Last week BMW let it slip to Roadshow that they would no longer charge the fee for 2019 and 2020 model year cars.

Android Auto 2019 Android Auto is able to perform many of the functions of a traditional smartphone while hooked up to your car, including give directions.Photo courtesy of Google

Android Auto will be available in the new vehicles sans special equipment fee.

Like with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto links a smartphone's functionality to a vehicle's infotainment system. When it becomes available, Android Auto will be able to fully integrate into BMW's digital cockpit meaning that the information appears in the car's head up display and instrument cluster instead of exclusively in the infotainment screen at the center of the dashboard.

"We are excited to work with BMW to bring wireless Android Auto to their customers worldwide next year," said Patrick Brady, Vice President of Engineering, Google. "The seamless connection from Android smartphones to BMW vehicles allows customers to hit the road faster while maintaining access to all of their favorite apps and services in a safer experience."

If you're wondering whether or not your phone is compatible with Android Auto, click here to see a handy guide from Google.

The public's first peek at Andorra Auto will be at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

Android Auto will be available for all BMW customers in 20 countries with BMW Operating System 7.0 in mid 2020.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica will be available with all-wheel drive and the longest list of standard safety features available in a minivan.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

For the 2021 model year, there will be two redesigned and two significantly refreshed models hitting the market in addition to the Dodge Caravan, which is finally getting the axe.

Below is a list of the best-selling minivans through August 8, 2020. Many automakers report their sales results quarterly. These rankings have been determined using sales numbers provided by the individual automobile manufacturers. FCA rolls its Chrysler Voyager sales into Pacifica sales (they share most of the same components).

The vehicles on this list are bound to change order as new information becomes available. Stay tuned!

Kia Sedona (8,050 sold)

2021 Kia Sedona Kia Sedona Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The Kia Sedona has been completely redesigned for the 2021 model year. The 2020 model is still on U.S. lots and delivers a lot of bang for its buck - just like most of the rest of the Kia lineup. The Sedan comfortably and confidently gets passengers to and fro.

Toyota Sienna (20,670 sold)

2021 Toyota Sienna

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Toyota has redesigned the Sienna for 2021, giving it only a hybrid powertrain and offering more polarizing looks. If you'd rather have a straight up gasoline-powered Sienna, you'll want to head to the Toyota lot sooner rather than later to grab a 2020 model before they run out.

Dodge Grand Caravan (30,222 sold)

2020 Dodge Grand Caravan Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The Dodge Grand Caravan has finally reached the end of the road. It's in the process of being replaced by the similarly priced but nicer appointed Chrysler Voyager.

Chrysler Pacifica (35,549 sold)

Chrysler Pacifica

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The Chrysler Pacifica is a well-designed family hauler that comes in a traditional gasoline-powered variant as well as a plug-in hybrid model. It has gobs of passenger space and sits a little lower to the ground than the Odyssey and Sienna while still giving good forward visibility. It will be significantly refreshed for 2021.

Honda Odyssey (43,203 sold)

2021 Honda Odyssey

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co. Inc.

The Honda Odyssey gets a significant facelift for 2021 with a shuffling of the packages and trim levels that actually lowers the price of the mid-grade model a significant amount. The car can come loaded with some neat tech like CabinWatch, which puts a camera view of the rear seats on the infotainment screen.

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Americans have complaints about their car insurance companies.

Photo by Getty Images

A new study by ValuePenguin discovered what Americans dislike about the top insurance companies in the country. The research found that customers were most likely to gripe about claims-related issues, but not always for the same reason.

The top 10 insurance companies are Allstate, Farmers, Chubb, GEICO, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, Progressive, State Farm, USAA, and Travelers. All of these companies offer auto insurance alongside other type of insurance.

The study used data collected from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). These results are specific to the auto industry.

Allstate and GEICO customers were most irritated by delays while Farmers, Progressive, State Farm, and Travelers clients complained most about unsatisfactory settlements/offers.

Value Penguin insurance companies Photo courtesy of ValuePenguin

About three-quarters of complaints directed at GEICO dealt with claims, typically with claims delays and unsatisfactory settlement offers.

Chubb customers were much less likely to complain about a claims issue. Only 43 percent of complaints made about that insurer involved claims. Instead, customers said they weren't happy with the company's sales and marketing process. "Misrepresentation" of coverage offerings was the single most common complaint among Chubb customers, and Chubb received more complaints regarding this issue than any other insurer ValuePenguin looked at.

Liberty Mutual was plagued by complaints over adjuster handling while the chief issue for Nationwide customers was the denial of a claim.

The NAIC's Complaint Index compares the number of complaints an insurer has received with its size. When this criteria is taken into account, Nationwide has the fewest complaints among the top car insurance insurers. Liberty Mutual car insurance customers are 96 percent as likely to file a complaint as they would at another insurer. Though it sounds high, this still beats the national average.

Here are all the Auto Complaint Index ratings for the top insurers:

  • Allstate - 0.6
  • Chubb - 0.51
  • Farmers - 0.86
  • GEICO - 0.81
  • Liberty Mutual - 0.96
  • Nationwide - 0.43
  • Progressive - 0.78
  • State Farm - 0.69
  • Travelers - 0.62
  • USAA - 0.69

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