Auto Electronics

Japanese Automakers Respond to Shifting Driver Demands

The three main telematics service providers in Japan — Nissan Carwings, Toyota G-Book and Honda InterNavi Premium Club — have focused on delivering enhanced navigation and entertainment services to their customers' vehicles. Toyota recently introduced G-Book Alpha, a new component to its telematics service, marking, according to findings from ABI Research, a paradigm shift for the Japanese telematics industry.

”The revolutionary part of the new G-Book Alpha service is that automatic crash notification is finally available in Japan,” said ABI Research analyst David Schrier. “In adding this safety feature, Toyota takes a page from OnStar's playbook. Not only will this drive adoption in Japan, but it positions G-Book to compete in North America. One of the main challenges for Japan's big three in bringing telematics to North America is finding a communications system that is inexpensive but offers near-ubiquitous coverage. European automakers are struggling to retain telematics subscribers with current business models.

In Europe, added Schrier, the trend is toward basic systems that include traffic and navigation with pay-per-use pricing. European automakers are responding by offering portable navigation systems with limited telematics functionality. Two examples: Opel's Corsa Edition with TomTom GO, and Toyota Hub, featuring Pocket PC-based navigation. These findings are part of the latest edition of ABI Research's “Global OEM Consumer Telematics, Navigation and Infotainment Service,” an in-depth analysis of global markets for telematics and all applicable technologies. Coverage includes shipments, revenues and penetration of embedded hardware and associated devices, plus major equipment forecasts for telematics control units, satellite radio, navigation and GPS/Bluetooth-enabled handsets.

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