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500L first Fiat to used Chryslerbased system
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UConnect Going Global With Fiat, Maserati

The new 500L and next 500 subcompacts will be the first Fiats to employ the Chrysler infotainment system, while Maserati now uses a version of it.

BALTIMORE – Chrysler’s UConnect infotainment system comes closer to global dominance as more Fiat-branded vehicles begin to integrate the technology.

The Fiat 500L, introduced in North America this month, is the first Fiat vehicle not equipped with the Italian auto maker’s Blue&Me connectivity platform. The 500 subcompact will move midcycle from Blue&Me to UConnect worldwide, a marketing manager for the infotainment system tells WardsAuto.

“We’re trying to create platforms across the radio line that we can use throughout the entire family,” Aamir Ahmed says on the sidelines of a media drive for the 500L here.

All Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles sold outside North America carry UConnect, as do rebadged Chrysler and Dodge models sold as Lancias and Fiats. But the Fiat-Chrysler group did not immediately substitute the system for its Maserati, Ferrari or Alfa Romeo brands and instead gradually integrated Auburn Hills-developed hardware here and there.

Maserati vehicles now are on the UConnect platform, but the technology is branded differently, Ahmed says.

“There’s a different theme versus Maserati. It’s very evident they use a lot of our technology as well, and they’ve chosen to brand theirs Maserati Touch Control, which is totally fine,” he says, noting that branding targets a more upscale customer.

UConnect “is definitely the vehicle-technology solution for Chrysler, and we don’t expect that to change,” he adds.

Marketing of UConnect has been relatively low-key thus far because “we didn’t want to make a splash” compared with branding efforts from Ford’s MyFordTouch or GM’s OnStar, Ahmed says.

Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne looks to craft individual identities for each car brand, emphasizing style, capability and performance, not necessarily telematics. But expect Chrysler to raise UConnect’s profile somewhat in light of recent industry awards and customer praise.

“You’ll see that message start coming out more,” Ahmed says.

Though marketing efforts may ramp up, UConnect isn’t looking for OnStar-level recognition, where the brand sometimes is viewed separately from the parent manufacturer.

“We’re not trying to build a brand or sub-brand, if you will, to leverage it,” Ahmed says. “We’re trying to build in technology that people want to use.”

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