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Japan, U.S. take the lead on car telematics

Posted: 09 Apr 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:telematics  automotive  wireless communications  Bluetooth 

Japan once again tops the list on availability of telematics in automobiles for the 2010 model year, according to iSuppli Corp.'s Infotainment Technology Availability Calculator.

For the 2010 model year, Japan has 38.3 per cent availability of telematics inside vehicles, with the United States following at 35.7 per cent. Japan cars have led in telematics availability since 2006, when iSuppli began tracking such figures. And except for the 2009 model year when the United States recorded the highest availability, Japan always has been at the top of the list.

Coming in at No. 3 in 2010 is Canada, at 30.3 per cent. Italy is a distant fourth at 13.8 per cent, followed by the United Kingdom at 11.7 per cent, France at 11.5 per cent, Germany at 10.8 per cent, South Korea at 6.3 per cent and China at 3.7 per cent.

Telematics refers to the solutions and applications built on top of information content flowing via wireless communication to and/or from an automobile. The most famous telematics service is General Motors' OnStar, which supports features like accident alerts. However, telematics spans a range of features, from remote diagnosis, to the wireless integration of third-party devices, to navigation and Location-Based Services updates, to theft detection, to engine control software revisions.

iSuppli breaks the category of Information Service Connection into two fields: mobile-phone-based systems and those using embedded wireless connections.

Japan's big market
"Japan's market stands out for its relatively high use of mobile-phone-based services compared to other countries, where embedded telematics in vehicles is usually the preferred option," said Hitomi Larson, analyst for automotive electronics at iSuppli. "Mobile-phone-based telematics service availability in Japan is 30.9 per cent for model year 2010, compared to the 5.4 per cent range for most other nations. This is because OEMs such as Toyota, Honda and Nissan provide mobile-phone-based telematics services and have expanded such services not only to high-end models but also to lower-end models."

Likewise, Bluetooth availability is extremely high in Japan—unlike in other regions where it is just beginning to take off—at 48.4 per cent for model year 2010 due to the competition among Toyota, Honda and Nissan to build up their services.

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