Weekly Brief: Introducing VW Car-Net

Weekly Brief: Introducing VW Car-Net

In this week’s Brief: Volkswagen, Onstar, Intel, Telmap, Google, Waze, the Department of Transportation, SiriusXM, TomTom, Coordina, Kia Motors, Samsung, SK Telecom and UDtech.

In the first major telematics-system rollout by an OEM in 2013, Volkswagen introduced VW Car-Net last week. The system is similar to GM’s OnStar in that it provides comprehensive roadside assistance and crash notification bundled with connectivity features like in-vehicle navigation, remote vehicle status and remote lock/unlock. A mobile app and web portal enable the remote access features.

VW points out that the system is different from OnStar in that all VW’s telematics features come standard with subscription, which customers can pay for on an annual basis ($199 for one year, $378 for two) or month-to-month for $17.99. VW will introduce Car-Net at the start of 2014 and try to generate interest with free six-month trials.

“Volkswagen Car-Net is a multifaceted connectivity system, seamlessly integrated into many of our cars,” says Frank Weith, VW’s general manager of connected services. “Not only does it offer our consumers an added sense of security with features like automatic crash notification, but it also offers various convenience features for day-to-day use, such as remote vehicle status and service appointment scheduling.”

In other news, Intel reportedly plans to shutter its Telmap navigation operations. Intel purchased Telmap two years ago for $120 million. The software giant told Israeli newspaper Globes that Telmap is no longer "a business priority."

General users of the M8 navigation app don’t have to worry; the navigation app will continue to function for the foreseeable future.

Google revealed that it paid $966 million in a cash acquisition of Waze, in June. Waze is a crowd-sourced navigation app based in Israel. Of the total purchase price, which was rumored to be around the billion mark but unverified until last week week, $847 million was attributed to goodwill and $188 million to intangible assets.

Google also landed in the news in the U.K., where The Guardian reported the British Department of Transportation plans to prohibit the use of Google Glass during the act of driving, and it plans to do it soon, before the device's 2014 launch.

Google Glass is Google’s futuristic attempt to shrink full-blown computers into tiny gizmos housed on a piece of eyewear. A member of the Department of Transportation (DoT) likened the distraction to a mobile phone, if not worse, and says the DoT is already in discussions with British police about enforcement.

SiriusXM, in an attempt to drum up more usage of its satellite radio service, announced a new trial program, in which vehicle owners who take their car for servicing at car dealerships will have the option for a free two-month SiriusXM radio subscription.

SiriusXM claims to be active in 69 percent of car models today and has its sights set on broader vehicle integration with a new in-car connectivity solution (as we reported two weeks ago, AT&T will provide connectivity for the solution). SiriusXM says the car dealership program will be a win-win, encouraging drivers to service their cars at dealerships and to use satellite radio and related apps.

On the fleet front, TomTom acquired Barcelona-based Coordina, the Spanish market leader in fleet management solutions with 27,000 active subscriptions. TomTom will use the acquisition as a way to further spread and strengthen its TomTom Business Solutions fleet management services.

No financial details of the acquisition were disclosed.

Finally, Kia Motors struck up a strategic partnership with SK Telecom, Samsung Electronics and UDtech in pursuit of smart car services. Kia says that the agreement creates alignment for the four firms to collectivity pursue smart car solutions and usher in a new culture that advances connectivity innovations.

“We expect the partnership will create a great synergy,” says Kim Chang-sik, executive vice president at Kia Motors.

The Weekly Brief is a round-up of the week’s top telematics news, combining TU analysis with information from industry press releases.

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

For all the latest telematics trends, check out V2V & V2I for Auto Safety USA 2013 on July 9-10 in Novi, MI, Insurance Telematics USA 2013 on September 4-5 in Chicago, Telematics Russia 2013 in September in Moscow, Telematics LATAM 2013 in September in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Telematics Japan 2013 on October 8-10 in Tokyo and Telematics Munich 2013 on November 11-12.

For exclusive telematics business analysis and insight, check out TU’s reports: Telematics Connectivity Strategies Report 2013The Automotive HMI Report 2013Insurance Telematics Report 2013 and Fleet & Asset Management Report 2012.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *