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Kia Australia plans to phone home

Hooked up: Australian Kia buyers will eventually get to choose between Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connectivity when Kia makes the switch to in-house supplies of software for its infotainment systems.

In-house supplier set to open door for Apple, Android connection for Kia Australia

20 Jul 2016

KIA Motors Australia (KMAu) is planning to switch to an in-house Hyundai Group source for the infotainment head units in all of its new models so it can roll out both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto across its range from sometime next year.

So far, only one of its models, the latest Cerato small hatchback, has Android Auto connectivity as standard – on vehicles fitted with the appropriate screen – but none has Apple CarPlay because KMAu’s current supplier does not have the licence to fit it.

A couple of models such as the Sorrento and Carnival will also get the Android system by the end of the year as part of a 2016 model year update.

Also, the new-generation Sportage and Optima will be capable of being retrofitted via a simple software upgrade as they already have the wiring loom in place.

But the real breakthrough will come when in-house supplies of head unit software comes on stream, enabling a full suite of connectivity in Australian Kia models for the first time.

In the United States, Kia’s American branch, which has different supplier, is already rolling out Apple and Android systems across a wide range of new models and has announced free retrofitting of the systems on eight current models, including Sportage and Optima, via a do-it-yourself software upgrade download.

KMAu media and corporate communications general manager Kevin Hepworth told GoAuto that KMAu was not in a position yet to offer such retrofitting as its head units supplier did not yet have a licence for Apple CarPlay and only a couple of models so far had the appropriate wiring.

“We are planning to move as soon as possible to an in-house supplier for head units on future models,” he said.

He indicated that these units would be pre-loaded with connectivity software for both Apple and Android smart phones. Although a firm date for this switch has yet to be set, it is expected to start next year with all-new models and major upgrades.

In Australia, sister brand Hyundai has a different head unit software supplier and is already starting to offer Apple CarPlay on latest models such as Tucson.

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