Daily News Briefs: Aug. 7, 2012


Chrysler will introduce an upgraded Uconnect system in the 2013 Ram 1500 pickup truck and SRT Viper that connects through an embedded wireless system powered by Sprint, the Detroit News reports. You can make phone calls, compose text messages by voice or find nearby points of interest via Bing. Passengers also can connect smartphones or computers to the system's on-board Wi-Fi. We hope it works faster than Chrysler's existing AutoNet-powered Uconnect Web, which left our iPhones in the slow lane. Like Uconnect Web, the Sprint-powered Uconnect system will require subscription or pay-per-use fees, the Detroit News says, but some of this could offset additional data charges on your own smartphone. Typical multimedia systems — think Ford's Sync AppLink or Toyota's Entune — stream applications off your smartphone's data, and unlimited plans are becoming harder to find. Chrysler will announce pricing closer to the fall launch of the Ram and Viper.

In other news:

  • Those subscription fees might be a roadblock. Hughes Telematics founder Kevin Link told an auto-industry conference that a utopian future of connected cars won't happen if drivers have to pony up subscription fees, Automotive News reports. Link's solution? The auto industry, which stands to reap the benefits, should chip in.
  • Reuters reports Hyundai's labor union in South Korea will stage partial strikes this week as wage negotiations have stagnated.
  • Slackening demand from young buyers could restrain new-car sales by 2 million cars each year, Bloomberg News reports.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a report Monday that pedestrian deaths rose 4% in 2010, the Detroit News reports. It's the first year since 2005 that pedestrian deaths have risen.
  • To improve gas mileage, Mazda said it wants to lighten each vehicle it redesigns by at least 220 pounds, Automotive News reports.

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Senior Consumer Affairs Editor Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price.  Email Kelsey