When considering motorcycles, Suzuki is likely a brand that comes to mind. Their cars, on the other hand, nearly go unnoticed unless you are looking for specifically cheap transportation. They typically only account for a fraction of a percent of U.S. auto sales, but that fraction is a tight and very loyal market. Well, it looks like they are trying to dig themselves out of obscurity by adding high-end features to their vehicles.
Starting in the 2013 model year, nearly every Suzuki car, truck, and SUV will include a Garmin stereo system that will also include Pandora radio. With the internet taking over everything nowadays, it’s only expected that internet radio would make its way into more cars – heck, some cars now have a hard drive bigger than my desktop PC, seriously…
Pandora works a lot like satellite radio, as it is not broadcasted from terrestrial towers, but rather streamed through the internet. You can personalize your own station too, so there is no need to swap the station every time something you can’t stand comes blasting through the speakers.
There is no receiver or anything like that for Pandora radio, so this is really not costing Suzuki much, meaning the cost to you would be minimal, if anything. The Garmin radio connects to an iPhone, per Pandora, and the iPhone in turn receives the Pandora signal, broadcasting it through the radio. It makes us curious because Pandora radio also has an Android app, which means nearly any phone on the market can receive its signal. However, Pandora specifically mentions just the iPhone in its press release.
We are starting to wonder if iPhone and Garmin are maybe up to something, or did the Pandora rep just misspeak. For the sake of all Suzuki buyers that choose to use this service, we hope the latter is the truth. From our research, it looks like Garmin and Suzuki have apps for both Android and iPhone, so it was likely a mistake to just say “iPhone.”
Regardless of its connectivity, this is a step in the right direction towards Suzuki reeling in its direct competitors, Hyundai and Kia.
Hit the jump to read Pandora’s official press release.
Suzuki Announces Plans to Integrate Pandora into Vehicles
2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara
OAKLAND, Calif., April 4, 2012 (4:30 p.m. EST) - Pandora (NYSE: P), the leading personalized radio service, announced today at the New York International Auto Show that Suzuki has joined the roster of automotive brands who have publicly announced plans to integrate Pandora into the radio of the vehicle. Pandora will be available via a Garmin unit that will be factory-installed on most 2013 model year Suzuki vehicles. The system will support hallmark Pandora functions such as thumbs-up, thumbs-down and track skip. In-car connectivity is made possible via a paired iPhone. The first Suzuki vehicles are expected to be available at dealers beginning this fall.
2012 Suzuki Kizashi
Pandora Executive Vice President of Business and Corporate Development Jessica Steel said,
"As Pandora continues to redefine radio, we are excited to welcome new automotive brands like Suzuki who are making it possible for listeners and drivers to enjoy their personalized radio stations while on-the-road."
2012 Suzuki SX4 SportBack
"Pandora offers a unique radio experience so we’re pleased to enable their offering for consumers who choose the Garmin infotainment system for Suzuki vehicles," said Matt Munn, Garmin’s managing director automotive OEM. "Our built-in voice command technology makes it easy for drivers to control Pandora’s features from the in-dash radio of their vehicle."