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General Motors’ Australian unit Holden is launching its new MyLink infotainment system with an update of its Barina [known as the Chevy Aveo/Sonic in other markets] that also includes a new range topping CDX auto version launching in November and an automatic transmission option for the Barina Spark [Chevy Spark] next January.

MyLink has a seven-inch colour touch screen radio capable of displaying music, videos, photos and contacts for hands-free calling. Launching with the Stitcher Smart Radio embedded application, MyLink will in future gain additional apps that offer drivers added information and entertainment options.

Holden marketing manager for small, medium and electric cars, Emma Pinwill said the new CDX model would increase the Barina’s appeal in a competitive market.

“We know that light car buyers are increasingly looking for a level of standard features that you would typically find in a larger car. One of the features that is most sought after by buyers, is an advanced audio system that works with their smartphone.

MyLink connects to compatible devices via bluetooth, plug-in outlet or USB and a large colour touch screen allows the driver to control selected functions including music, radio and telephone.

The driver is able to access stored songs from their phone or MP3 player and their favourite FM/AM stations via car radio. When a mobile device is connected to the MyLink system, the driver will also be able to stream digital content from selected applications.

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Richard Marshall, director, energy, environment and technology said MyLink was a solution that enabled drivers to bring their own device into the car and customise their radio features as they would on their smart phone.

“MyLink has been developed to enable drivers to enjoy simple, safe and personalised connectivity while on the road. It features an easy-to-use interface that has been designed to minimise distraction for the driver and is customisable, so drivers can tailor the functionality of the system by downloading selected apps.

“In car-infotainment is a huge focus for us. As consumers become more attached to their smartphones, there’s an expectation that cars will function with their device. So we need to work to provide a solution that is safe, enabling drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.”

Additional apps will be available from the first quarter of 2013, with Holden MyLink the first in-car system in Australia to offer full compatibility with Pandora, the leading personalised radio service in the US, which was recently introduced in Australia and New Zealand. TuneIn radio will also become available and allow Barina drivers to stream radio stations from around the world.

MyLink will also bring a low-cost navigation option through BringGo, an app which runs through the GPS of the mobile device and is controlled and viewed on the MyLink touch screen.

Marshall said a highly specified infotainment system was becoming an increasingly important feature of a car, particularly with younger and tech-savvy buyers.

It would also be offered on the 2013 Chevy Malibu which will also be branded as a Holden ‘down under’.

Pinwill said that an automatic transmission option was becoming a more critical feature of the light car segment.

“When we introduced Barina Spark, we said it was our intention to offer an automatic transmission as soon as could. With 68% of light cars sold year to date featuring an automatic transmission and sales growing within the segment, now is a great time to be introducing this option.”