At Berla, one of the most frequent questions we get is, “When will you support more cars in my country?” and this question is posed most often in reference to Europe or Australia.
The short answer to that question is a two-part answer: 1) we are always working to increase the number of vehicles we support, and 2) we already support more models than you may realize.
The major auto manufacturers make top-down technology decisions for all their subsidiaries. For example, GM dictates what infotainment and telematics systems are used in all the GM brands (currently Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, GMC, Opel, Vauxhall, and Holden). The infotainment hardware in these vehicles will have very similar underlying technology but exhibit slight branding differences at the software level.
Platform Sharing and Badge Engineering
Platform sharing is a practice whereby an automaker combines design attributes, functionality, and research across multiple vehicles, allowing for greater efficiency and reduced production costs. Platform sharing may entail using some of the same specific parts amongst multiple vehicles, though not necessarily. If parts are shared, they are more likely to be below-the-surface items that affect functions rather than the obvious, visual commonalities seen with badge engineering.
Badge engineering, also referred to as rebadging, is a practice wherein a parent automaker will produce what is essentially one vehicle under multiple brands, typically to market in different regions of the world. With badge engineering, the vehicles not only share parts, but they are virtually identical twins other than having dissimilar emblems. Of course, the side on which the steering column is located may vary as well, depending on each vehicle’s country. Otherwise, the similarities are immediately, visually obvious.
Regardless of whether a particular automaker employs platform sharing or badge engineering, they use the same few infotainment and telematics systems throughout all their vehicles, across all their brands and regional markets.
Badge Engineering Examples
For one example of badge engineering, the Chevrolet SS in the U.S. is essentially the same as the Holden Commodore SS sedan in Australia. It might be argued that the current design generation of Ford’s Mondeo and Fusion models, marketed under one name or the other depending on region, constitutes a case of badge engineering.
GM uses a variety of make and model names around the globe, but many similarities can be found across these vehicles due to both platform sharing and badge engineering.
In recent years, the Opel Insignia, a car made by the German GM affiliate, is also rebadged as the Vauxhall Insignia in the U.K., as the Buick Regal in North America and China, and the Holden Insignia in Australia. Under all of these namesakes the vehicle features a common infotainment system, and the same physical design can plainly be seen across photos from each of the makes.
Same vehicle, same infotainment system. From top: Buick Regal, Vauxhall Insignia, Opel Insignia, and Holden Insignia.
Additional Examples of Shared Infotainment Systems
While the above examples involve shared infotainment and telematics systems in vehicles with badge engineering, one can also find numerous examples of systems shared under platform sharing.
FCA (FIAT Chrysler Automotive) employs the same Uconnect systems across all its brands: Chrysler, Dodge, FIAT, Jeep, RAM, and SRT, as well as the luxury and performance brands Ferrari and Maserati. Several Uconnect system variations are supported in iVe.
The infotainment/telematics system most commonly found in BMW vehicles are iVe-supported and may also be found in MINI and Rolls-Royce.
Some European Toyota vehicles feature systems with slightly different branding and/or appearance from their U.S. counterparts, yet they are otherwise identical and may still be acquired in iVe.
Volkswagen’s most common infotainment systems, also supported in iVe, are included in SEAT and Skoda vehicles, not to mention several other Volkswagen-owned luxury and performance brands.
The same infotainment hardware used across three different brands. From left: Volkswagen, SEAT, and Skoda.
Ford is a global manufacturer that, while not using several different brand names for its vehicles, does produce certain models such as the Kuga, Ka, and Mondeo only to non-U.S. markets. Despite the regional exclusivity of such models, all feature the same SYNC infotainment systems found across all of Ford’s markets.
The iVe Vehicle Lookup
Even if iVe’s vehicle lookup does not show a particular system, that does not necessarily mean the system is not supported. Berla is in the process of actively researching which systems are in which vehicles, and as more iVe-supported vehicles are discovered they are added to the vehicle lookup. When in doubt, users can reach out to Berla to inquire if a vehicle is supported.
Future Global Support Additions
Before choosing which infotainment and telematics systems to support in iVe, Berla’s team conducts a great deal of research to make informed decisions as to which systems are found most often across an automaker’s global lineup. In short, it is our aim to cover the largest portions of the market share and thereby help in as many investigations as possible. That said, keep submitting your requests and let Berla know which particular makes and models you would most like to see added to iVe’s supported vehicle list. The scope of supported vehicles is only expected to continue to grow as the future unfolds, and your valuable user feedback will help us map out the road ahead.