Opel Insignia with Intellilink - unfulfilled promises

The truth is that the system promised: Internet connectivity via smartphone, multiple interface (voice, gesture recognition, steering wheel controls and touchscreen), dedicated app store, a unique customization experience, a browser full of features... and two years later, some of those features are not there, nor are they expected. The problem is not unique to Spain, there are complaints at the European level.

Opel Insignia owners are organizing on the Internet, through Facebook and forums, to denounce the situation. They feel abandoned, they receive vague answers from the brand and Opel is not assuming its responsibilities. In other words, they promised features that are not available in the product they bought, and paid for.

To get in touch with others affected, there is the Facebook group "AFFECTED BY OPEL'S INTELLILINK NAVI900 "SCAM" and two threads on the Insignia Club forum (registration required): [PLATFORM] Affected Intellilink 900 and [OFFICIAL THREAD] IntelliLink Navi 900.

Here is an official video from the brand explaining the capabilities of the system:

Yes, complaints have been left on Opel's Facebook page, some end up being deleted by the moderators

The mapping is out of date, users say it dates from 2011-2012, when the car went on sale at the end of 2013. They were promised an annual update, but Opel refers them to the HERE provider, and they are told that the update is not yet available, which is expected to cost 179 euros. In addition, several users complain about a bad experience with the navigator, not only because of the routes it doesn't know, but also because of the routes it takes them.

The POI (points of interest) update does not work either, nor does it provide warnings when approaching these POIs. Other missing features include entering a destination using coordinates, OnStar compatibility, and map search optimization (it has no search suggestions if you don't enter the exact name).

The apps are simply not there. It was one of the biggest capabilities of the system, but the AppShop (that's what their app "store" is called) isn't operational. Even the "standard" apps like TuneIn, which are available for the much cheaper Opel Adam, aren't available.

What does General Motors have to say about this?

Several users have sent messages to General Motors, and one of the replies was the following: "It is not planned to be able to install Apps in this model Infotainment", signed by Jose Rodriguez, GM Spain. When asked if the systems will be updated, the answer was "The systems will not be changed" and that "it will not include any evolution in terms of usability of the equipment".

Below, I reproduce a longer message, as is (sic):

"Dear Customer,

We correspond to your inquiries received in our Infotainment Department regarding applications and mapping in the Navi900 IntelliLink system in your Opel vehicle.

Cartography: We inform you that the first cartographic version for this specific model of Navigator has not been made available yet, as you can check on the website of "HERE "navigation.com, which is the company that sells these products.

AppShop: It is now official that apps will not be available for this generation Infotainment. At the 2013 Frankfurt International Motor Show, Opel presented the project known as AppShop, which was intended to be made available on 2014 vehicles, and was subsequently decided to be delayed. This delay was due to the brand's commitment to producing the highest quality and best experience for our customers.

We are still working to bring this technology to market in the future, although there is no scheduled launch date yet, but what is clear as of today is that the technology will not be retroactively compatible with models manufactured to date.

We remain at your disposal both by this email address, as in our line 91 375 45 11.

Jose Rodriguez

GM Spain


Some users are losing patience, and attempts are already being made to reverse engineer the system. This is precisely what the brand wanted to avoid, and is surely prohibited by the terms of use (EULA). Now, if the brand doesn't give software support to such hardware, we can understand it as a legitimate act, even if it's not legal.

My experience with the Opel Intellilink

At the time, when I was working in another media, I have already reported it, but I will do it again. It was a typical day in Germany, grey skies, rain and, as it usually happens at Opel presentations, very tight weather. I only had a few minutes to talk to the people in charge of the brand about this system, but it was enough to see what it was all about. This was two years ago, but due to the lack of memory there are the photos from my camera, and the USB disk they gave me, I never throw them away or erase them.

I tried a prototype - a dashboard, no car, exposed - where yes, the apps existed, and I was able to try The Weather Channel (weather information) and TuneIn (streaming radio). Also available were NPR and MiRoamer, similar in purpose to TuneIn. I was told at the time that there would be free apps, by developers outside of GM, and that they would all have to be approved so as not to present security or user experience issues.

Incidentally, those four apps were the same ones presented in Frankfurt and mentioned by Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann. This is what the press release said: "[...] Opel will show the apps "The Weather Channel", "Tuneln", "NPR" (National Public Radio) and "MiRoamer" at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The list will grow and evolve over time as General Motors and Opel work with developers to create new applications [...]". The same press release commented that 2,700 developers had signed up to create content for i-Link.

After all, it's their platform and they do what they want with it. The images above are official and you can enlarge them by clicking on them. The system was also supposed to be upgradable, thanks to the phone's shared Internet connection. However, this has not turned out to be the case, and the system has been paralyzed in time, exactly like a browser of the kind it was meant to replace.

I have to apologise as I was alerted to this issue two weeks ago and the matter was left on my to-do pile, it was unprofessional of me. Unfortunately I cannot make corrections on what I wrote in 2013, for the simple reason that it is already another medium with which I do not have a professional relationship. What I can do is make amends by giving a voice to those users, but also to the brand.

If my opinion matters to anyone, here goes. If what General Motors is all about is "producing the highest quality" and "the best experience for our customers" they are showing off. We're not in the near bankruptcy situation of 2009, that's behind us. Even though General Motors is losing money in Europe, and fixing this mess may not have an immediate return on investment, it is necessary in order to satisfy its customers.

We are talking about a D-segment car, which is marketed as an almost premium product, remember the commercial of the man who travels in Business Class and asks the stewardess for the keys of an Opel that have fallen to the ground. This is not the way to compete with high-end brands, leaving customers with an obsolete product as soon as it leaves the factory, we are not talking about a first generation Vectra navigator that is no longer available, it's a car that is for sale!

Therefore, as long as General Motors and its Opel brand don't give a crystal clear answer, I can only recommend not to buy the Navi 900 Intellilink as it is a beta product, which is what we computer scientists call something that is still in the testing phase and not ready to be put into a production environment. It's a real shame, because the product promised a lot, but that's the bad thing about closed, proprietary solutions: if the manufacturer doesn't respond, it's frozen in time.

Finally, I would like to emphasize the exercise of supreme clumsiness that implies, in the middle of 2015, deleting comments on social networks from customers, no matter how negative they are, as if that would silence criticism.

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