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Is New $50 Chevy Navigation System a Game-Changer?

Maker turns to the Cloud.

by on Aug.03, 2012

The 2013 Chevrolet Spark will offer a $50 navigation system called BringGo.

Sales of factory-installed navigation systems have long fallen short of expectations in the U.S., analysts say, because of the high cost of the technology – which in most vehicles still pushes north of $1,000 and can run almost double that in a few models.

Chevrolet hopes to see a paradigm shift in demand, however, with the upcoming launch of its new BringGo system.  The smartphone-based navigation package will cost buyers just $50.

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BringGo is actually a hybrid that relies on so-called “cloud”-based data rather than building everything into the vehicle itself.  The maker pairs a smartphone-based navi app with an in-car video display with the system which is debuting on the new Chevrolet Spark minicar.

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In-Vehicle Navigation Sales Will Quadruple by 2019

And Google, Microsoft and Apple hope to be leading the charge.

by on Jul.11, 2012

Chevrolet's GogoLink is a new smartphone app-based navigation system.

The number of cars, trucks and crossovers sold with in-vehicles navigation systems will quadruple in North America by 2019, according to a new study, growing to nearly 13 million new systems annually.

But that may not be as good news as it might seem for traditional navi system suppliers, such as Denso, Harman or TomTom, cautions Boston-based Strategy Analytics, Inc. It warns that high-tech firms, such as Apple, Google and Microsoft, are “beginning to battle for share” as they grow their own automotive business.

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The good news is that future navigation systems, whoever supplies them, will likely be less expensive and offer significantly more features.  Price, even more than functionality, has been a barrier to entry for many consumers – or led them to go with aftermarket devices that can be purchased at a Costco for $100.  And now, potential buyers have the opportunity to go with smartphone navigation apps.

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New Federal Guidelines Could Restrict In-Car Navigation Systems

NHTSA blames distractions for 17% of all crashes.

by on Mar.26, 2012

DoT Sec. Ray LaHood is pressing for a strict crackdown on distracted driving.

As federal regulators move forward on plans to put new distracted driving regulations in place it’s quite possible that future rules would bar the use of in-car navigation systems – at least as we know them today.

In fact, many of the basic features that buyers are coming to expect – and that manufacturers are pushing, much to the delight of their accounting departments – could be severely restricted or even barred entirely.

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Research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration contends that of nearly 900,000 crashes reported to police in 20, 17% involved some form of distracted driving.  Of that figure, 3%, or 26,000 crashes, involved “a device/control integral to the vehicle,” according to NHTSA.  That could cover anything from a poorly placed switch for an SUV’s rear windshield to the controls for a 14-way power seat.

But much of the focus is on infotainment technology, including such systems as onboard navigation and SMS text messaging.

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Marty’s Marketing Minutia

Changes, comment, commercial, content and China.

by on Oct.23, 2009

Nissan Refreshes and Updates its 2010 Sedans

A $400 navi should help build demand for the 2010 Nissan Sentra.

A $400 navi should help build demand for the 2010 Nissan Sentra.

Light trucks may still be a critical segment of the American market, but passenger cars for Nissan are down just 18.6% compared to the industry’s drop of 26%, so far this year and are a very important category to the company. Despite the economic climate Nissan has increased its total market share to 6.7%, for the calendar-year-to-date, and has made a major investment to “refresh and update” its sedans, Maxima, Altima, Versa and Sentra.

Citing extensive enhancements to their exteriors – a family resemblance in grills and front fascias — and interiors, along with new content packages and an emphasis on value, technology and entertainment – every model has been updated to some degree. Here are the key changes:

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Maxima  — new 7” color video display for Navi and other technologies, including the new rearview camera, a 2GB music server, iPod net, DVD playback, Bluetooth, streaming audio and XM Nav/Weather, USB connectivity, and two new exterior colors.

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Portable “Navis” to Set New Sales Record

Defying the downturn: why automakers don't share the success.

by on Oct.05, 2009

What recession? Despite the sluggish economy, sales of portable "navis" will top 19 million this year, another record.

What recession? Despite the sluggish economy, sales of portable "navis" will top 19 million this year, another record.

In the carefully controlled aisles of the typical Costco superstore, one of the first things you’re likely to run into is a display for the portable navigation systems.  Plug one in, stick it onto your windshield and you’ll never get lost again, or so claim manufacturers like Garmin, Magellan and TomTom.

The technology has come a long way over the last quarter century.  The first commercial system, the Etak Navigator, required a half-dozen cassette-like data tapes to map a city the size of San Francisco.  Today’s “navi” unit is likely to cover the entire U.S. and Canada on a thumbnail-size memory chip.  And more and more of the devices are adding features like real-time traffic alerts, weather and a Bluetooth cellphone link.

Yet prices have plunged; from an average of $1,000 or more, early this decade, many models now come in at least than $200.

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So, it’s perhaps no wonder that as an otherwise dreary 2009 comes to a close, industry analysts are forecasting that American consumers will have purchased a record 18 million portable navigation devices, up from the previous record, the 17.3 million sold last year.

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Is Satellite Navigation About to Crash?

GPS network may start to fail by 2010.

by on May.20, 2009

Whether built-in or purchased aftermarket, GPS navigation systems are becoming ubiquitous - but the satellite network that makes them work could soon fail.

Whether built-in or purchased aftermarket, GPS navigation systems are becoming ubiquitous - but the satellite network that makes them work could soon begin to fail.

“Please, turn left in one-quarter mile.”

By now, almost anyone with an automobile has become familiar with satellite navigation.  It’s made it possible for motorists all over the world to find remote and obscure locations – and forget how to get to the nearest 7/11 on their own.

Each year, more and more cars come factory-equipped with “navi” systems, and countless more drivers opt for the windshield-mounted, aftermarket systems that have become some of the most popular gifts at Christmastime, according to retail expects.  There are also handheld systems, and even some of the latest smart cellphones, such as Apple’s iPhone, rely on the network of up to 32 mid-orbit satellites that constantly broadcast precise signals that, by comparing several signals simultaneously, can be used to predict location, altitude, time and velocity.

But what happens if the satellites start to fail?  That’s a potential problem that could begin to become reality as early as next year, according to a new U.S. government report. (more…)