GM Cars Go to Market with Shopping App

General Motors Co. is introducing an in-vehicle app that allows motorists to make reservations and complete purchases from third-party vendors directly through their infotainment systems.

Hailed as an industry first, the new Marketplace app is being launched today as a free service available on Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC vehicles equipped with GM's latest MyLink infotainment system. Current owners of 2017 and 2018 model-year vehicles began receiving wireless updates last week to enable the app.

The voice-activated application, which appears as an icon on a vehicle’s touchscreen display, can be used while driving with minimal distraction, according to GM. Leveraging machine learning and real-time data, such as location, time of day, preferences and recent usage, the system can be customized for different users.

At launch Marketplace has about a dozen partner companies, allowing drivers to pre-order coffee and food, make restaurant reservations, locate and pay for fuel, reserve and pay for parking, search for nearby hotels and shop online. Initial partners are Applebee’s, Dunkin' Donuts, delivery.com, Exxon Mobil, IHOP, Parkopedia, Priceline.com, Shell, TGI Fridays and Wingstop. Starbucks is due to be added early next year.

Marketplace also features a "Shop" section dedicated to offers specific to GM vehicle owners, such as discounts on vehicle accessories, oil changes and the purchase of wi-fi data. Dealership services such as scheduling oil changes and other maintenance are expected to be added next year.

GM is working with several platform service providers to enable merchants to integrate their content as part of the in-vehicle Marketplace. The three main partners are Atlanta-based Sionic Mobile, Seattle’s Xevo and Conversable in Austin, Tex.

The carmaker plans to offer Marketplace in about 4 million vehicles by the end of next year—more than doubling initial availability in about 1.9 cars and trucks today.