Remote Services Likely to Raise Driver Interest in Telematics

DALLAS and FORT WORTH, Texas, Dec. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Remote activation of specific in-vehicle functions, such as turning on interior temperature-control and defrosting systems, shows a high likelihood of dramatically raising consumer interest in telematics services in future vehicles, according to a recent study conducted for ATX Group. ATX is the world's second largest telematics provider to the automotive industry, serving both the North American and European markets.

J.D. Power and Associates was commissioned by ATX to conduct a conjoint analysis of various telematics services across premium, luxury, near-luxury and mass-market vehicle model segments. Among the five telematics service package offerings included in the analysis (automatic crash notification, the remote access services, GPS location-based services, vehicle information, and satellite radio)*, vehicle owners in the U.S. were more likely to purchase a bundle of telematics services if it included the remote access capability. ATX has bundled these services into a package for automobile manufacturers called DIVA(TM) (driver interactive vehicle applications).

In all but the premium vehicle model segment, remote activation services were ranked by all model segments in the study as the most preferred application in a bundle of telematics services that included such traditional, location-based services as automatic collision notification, in-vehicle emergency "MayDay" buttons, stolen vehicle recovery, and vehicle geo-fencing (alerting the owner any time a vehicle transects an owner-defined, geographic boundary).

Remote diagnostics of vehicle performance and automatic owner (parent) notification anytime the vehicle exceeded the owner's pre-determined speed limit emerged as additional applications consumers preferred in a telematics service package. With the addition of remote-access capability to a low-cost, multi-feature bundle of telematics services, a majority of vehicle owners in the survey preferred the telematics services over a monthly satellite radio subscription. An even larger majority would like the opportunity to access both telematics and satellite radio in one package.

The study also revealed that with a broad menu of telematics services, a majority (approximately three-fifths) of those surveyed would pay an additional $400 above the Manufacturers' Suggested Retail Price for telematics hardware.

"This research tells us that most vehicle owners see a lot of value in a service that bundles into a single package a broad range of applications that deliver safety, convenience and, most importantly, owner control ... even remotely ... over the operation of their vehicle," said Gary Wallace, ATX Vice President of Corporate Relations.

ATX is currently conducting demonstrations of the DIVA(TM) remote activation services to automobile manufacturers.

*Each package included a varying number of services.

Based in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, area and Dusseldorf, Germany, ATX Group is the world's second largest provider of telematics services for the automobile industry, serving both North America and Europe. ATX telematics services are designed to provide enhanced safety, security and driving convenience to vehicle owners. These services include location-specific emergency and roadside assistance, automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle recovery, remote diagnostics and real-time traffic and navigation assistance. ATX, the largest independent telematics provider not owned by an automobile manufacturer or telecommunications firm, also provides telematics services designed to help automobile manufacturers and their affiliated dealerships to use telematics data to reduce costs, enhance vehicle servicing, and more closely manage customer relationships. ATX services are provided to vehicle owners through the brand names of its customers -- Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Maybach, and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

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