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June 23, 2003

JAPAN: Suzuki and Nissan to collaborate on in-vehicle telematics

Nissan Motor and Suzuki Motor said Monday that they have reached an agreement to collaborate in the car-mounted information terminal business, Dow Jones reported. Nissan will provide, from next autumn, Suzuki cars with its Carwings telematics service that enables map data and emergency messages to be received and transmitted through an information terminal, the report said, but the two companies declined to disclose which Suzuki cars will carry the terminals initially.

By bcusack

Nissan Motor and Suzuki Motor said Monday that they have reached an agreement to collaborate in the car-mounted information terminal business, Dow Jones reported.

Nissan will provide, from next autumn, Suzuki cars with its Carwings telematics service that enables map data and emergency messages to be received and transmitted through an information terminal, the report said, but the two companies declined to disclose which Suzuki cars will carry the terminals initially.

Telematics services provide directions and other information through terminals similar to a car navigation system. The service can also send information from the vehicle. For example, if someone in the vehicle suddenly becomes ill or the car has a flat tyre, the device can quickly inform a hospital or garage of the vehicle’s location, Dow Jones said, adding that the announcement follows the two car makers’ joint study that began last summer to explore collaboration in telematics services.

Dow Jones noted that, in March 2002, Nissan launched Carwings for its March [Micra] passenger cars, providing both operator-assisted and automatic, on-the-road services. Now all seven Nissan models available in Japan, including the Teana, the Cube and the Primera, are equipped to receive the service, the report said.

While Suzuki’s spokesman declined to comment to Dow Jones on which model will be first to be equipped with the information terminal, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper reported earlier on Monday that Suzuki is considering putting the terminals in its remodeled Wagon R minicar, to be released this autumn.

Meanwhile, the two companies said Nissan and Japan’s leading mobile operator NTT DoCoMo are jointly studying next-generation telematics services that integrate mobile technology into the car-mounted terminals, Dow Jones said.

The news agency said that, under the agreement, Suzuki will also undertake sales activities for Carwings but the Suzuki spokesman declined to say how much the deal has saved by sparing the company from developing its own information terminals.

About two years ago, Suzuki and Nissan announced that the former would supply the latter with minicars for sale in Japan, saving Nissan the expense of developing its own models to compete in the market segment.

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