New Auto accesory: ADVERTISING

Detroit Free Press, June 5, 2008

The digital revolution long promised for your car — known in the automotive business as telematics — has arrived.
Over the next few model years, drivers will be able to do things such as find a nearby gas station with the lowest price, pay bills, order movies and schedule hair appointments.
Advertisers will be providing the gas.
Getting your door unlocked when you’ve left your keys inside, for example, “might be courtesy of Red Bull,” explains Velle Kolde, senior product manager for Microsoft Auto, which recently released its 3.0 automotive
operating system to industry developers.
Or, drivers could download online movies for the kids in the minivan courtesy of Netflix or book oil-change appointments courtesy of Pennzoil.
Getting people to pay for a monthly telematics subscription — General Motors Corp.’s OnStar starts at $18.95 a month — or even a flat fee — Ford Motor Co.’s Sync costs $395 — is a hurdle that can be lowered by allowing advertisers to sponsor services or parts of the technology.
In the next few years, for example, Kolde says most new vehicles could have navigation systems that are almost entirely supported through advertising listings tied to the map. Advertisers would pay for premier placement in the map listings that come up when a driver is searching for a nearby coffee shop or a pharmacy.
Although this advertising could eventually mean big profits for automotive companies and their suppliers, experts said the advertising revenue is needed more in the short term to pay for the technology and to get it to the consumers who desire it most.
By 2013, Telematics Research Group in Minnetonka, Minn., expects more than 50 million vehicles to be on the road with sophisticated telematics systems like these.
Advertisers are champing at the bit to elbow their way into the car with all this new technology, experts report.

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