By Chris Woodyard, USA TODAYLOS ANGELES — As cars have gotten fancier, automakers have a harder time explaining how features work.
But Hyundai thinks it has the answer. It gave USA TODAY an exclusive sneak peek Tuesday — the eve of the press preview for the Los Angeles Auto Show — at what it thinks is the future. It is putting an interactive digital owners manual on an Apple iPad and loading it into every glove compartment of the new Equus luxury car.Buy Clomid
Want to see how “adaptive headlights” work — shifting to point in the direction you’re turning — in the $58,900 Equus? Touch the iPad screen and you can redirect with a fingertip on the screen the headlight beams on an overhead view of the car.
Curious about the benefits of rear-wheel drive? Race car driver Rhys Millen explains the advantages to you in a video of him driving through the desert in an Equus.
The system recognizes that printed owners manuals in luxury cars have gotten so fat — some run to more than 1,000 pages — that there had to be a better way. Chrysler, for instance, has been putting its manuals on CDs that can be played in the car, or in the case of the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, as an app on smartphones.
But Hyundai is going to equip every Equus, on sale next month, with a 16-gigabyte, Wi-Fi-enabled iPad. Owners will get it when they return to the dealer where they bought the car for a “reconnect visit,” a chance to ask more questions about the car after they’ve lived with it for a few days.
The iPad is increasingly finding its way into cars. BMW, for instance, has created a docking station on the back of front seats of its X3 crossover so an iPad can be used as the rear-seat entertainment system.
Including an iPad with an Equus is considered such a big deal that Hyundai plans to feature it in its Equus ads. Hyundai plans to create similar owners manual apps for its other vehicles, although not with an iPad as part of the deal.
“We’re very excited about it,” says John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America. A car like the Equus, which has an electric rear footrest and different kinds of massage in the back seat, was becoming hard to explain, he says.
Another tough one, he says, is the adaptive headlights, where the digital visuals are far more effective than a print explanation alone.
“The industry is struggling with telling people how that works,” he says.
Equus’ owners manual app includes 15 computer-generated animation sequences to demonstrate features. It has two videos created just for the manual, and they will be supplemented with others from sales training videos, says Milind Raval, director of interactive marketing for Innocean Worldwide Americas, Hyundai’s ad agency, which helped develop the app.
In addition to explaining things, the iPad app will allow owners to automatically schedule dealer appointments, show the price of the service and even let them choose their favorite service rep by name.
Don’t want to buy the car, but want the app? It will be downloadable from the Apple App Store.