LOS ANGELES -- Plenty of automakers are taking their owner's manuals digital, but Hyundai is taking things a step further -- with an iPad software application that will enable owners of the Equus luxury sedan to schedule service appointments.
Hyundai has developed an app that will be a standard feature of the iPad given to all Equus owners. The iPad is the new tablet computer from Apple Inc.
The Wi-Fi-enabled iPad is to be given at a follow-up visit to the customer's Hyundai dealership two weeks after a car is purchased.
But that might be the last time the Equus owner sees the inside of a Hyundai dealership.
One of the perks of Equus ownership will be a vehicle valet service, whereby a Hyundai representative will retrieve the car for service from the owner's home or office and deliver it after the work has been completed.
Setting the scheduling of the appointments will be part of the iPad app, says Barry Ratzlaff, Hyundai's director of service operations.
"Owners were concerned with their time and how vehicle service is managed," he says.
"We used that feedback to help improve processes but also as indicators for how it should work with Equus."
Technology-averse Equus owners also will have access to a dedicated concierge phone line separate from Hyundai's national call center.
"If we can give them their time back, that's a magical equation," Ratzlaff says.
"It doesn't matter how nice the dealer facility is, you're still stuck there while the dealer is working on the car. Sure, there are service loaners, but vehicle valet leapfrogs the whole scenario."
It also leapfrogs the uncomfortable situation of having the owner of a $60,000 Equus parked in the service drive next to a $10,000 Accent.
The Equus goes on sale this fall.
The Hyundai iPad app is from Xtime Inc. of Redwood Shores, Calif., which specializes in software for auto service departments. The Xtime software will be in addition to the virtual owners' manual on the iPad.
The manual is expected to include videos of the more complicated aspects of the Equus, such as how to pair a Bluetooth device or program the adaptive cruise control. But Ratzlaff says there will be no interface between the iPad and the vehicle.