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Infiniti introduces personal concierge service with new cars

Mon, 11 Jul 2011

The luxury-car market is tough a game when the economy is going good. When it's bad, automakers have to think up all sorts of incentives to get buyers into showrooms. Case in point: the personal concierge service from Infiniti.

Infiniti will offer the complimentary service for the first four years of ownership, providing buyers with 24-hour access to a team of assistants. The system works through the owner's mobile phone regardless of whether they're in the car.

Services from Infiniti include:

-- Directory assistance and driving directions

-- City guides

-- Weather forecasts

-- Dining suggestions and reservations

-- Movie times and reviews

-- Travel arrangements

-- Emergency assistance

-- Schedule reminders

-- Stock-market info

-- Sports scores, stats and general trivia answers

-- Consumer product reviews and price comparisons

The company says it is the first luxury-automobile brand to offer such a service nationally in the United States. General Motors offers OnStar with some of the same features, and Hyundai's new Blue Link package is similar but doesn't offer quite as much information.

All Infiniti buyers are registered for the complimentary service before taking delivery of any M, G, QX, FX or EX vehicle. Additionally, four-year companion accounts are available, which will work from a second phone number. Companion accounts cost $199 at the time of purchase.

After four years, if the owner would like to renew the benefits, it will cost $199, which is the same rate that current Infiniti owners can pay to opt in to the new program.

The Infiniti Personal Assistant benefits begin on Monday and will be available in all markets in the next 90 days.

Top user topics during the testing phase, according to Infiniti, have been directory assistance, dining suggestions and driving directions.

Our favorite part? The general trivia answers. Debating the most points scored in a season by a point guard? "Call my concierge!"

By Jake Lingeman