Auto Electronics

Mercedes plans telematics service switch from ATX to Hughes

Mercedes-Benz USA plans to end its relationship with telematics service provider ATX Group in November 2009 and will partner instead with HUGHES Telematics Inc.

Mercedes will offer HUGHES telematics hardware and services on new vehicles starting in November 2009 and will offer existing Tele Aid customers the option of moving to HUGHES for safety, infotainment, diagnostic, and convenience features. Existing customers will also have the option of continuing their service with ATX.

Hughes is also developing a telematics system for Chrysler.

Mercedes has offered telematics services through ATX since 1999. ATX will continue to supply telematics services to owners of vehicles from BMW, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Maybach and Rolls-Royce.

"Mercedes-Benz and ATX have simply chosen to move in different directions with different strategies in the telematics markets, each believing that their strategy best serves its own markets,” said ATX president and chief executive officer Steve Millstein. “That doesn't mean our interests won't converge in other markets or at some point in the future."

Millstein predicted that ATX will grow at a compound annual rate of more than 30% over the next five years. The firm is extending its services to mobile devices and has begun what it terms “an aggressive expansion of services” in Europe and Asia.

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