BMW Group

BMW Telematics Offensive: Networking of individual mobility through partnership with Vodafone Passo
Strategic Cooperation re-oriented through long-term agreement

    Munich, Germany (ots) - The BMW Group has renewed its strategic partnership with Vodafone Passo in the field of telematics services. With its updated BMW ASSIST, BMW offers customers a unique service which, as a special technological innovation, allows the desired navigation data to be transmitted right into a moving car from external sources. The contract with Vodafone, formerly Mannesmann, on the development of BMW ASSIST was signed as early as July 1999. The BMW Group and Vodafone Passo have now adapted the contract to the current service requirements and strategic orientation of BMW which, with the new BMW 7 Series, is aimed at being the world´s first manufacturer to offer an Internet portal in an automobile.

    Partnership of Technology Leaders

    The renewed partnership of two global players in the automotive industry and New Economy offers the customer major advantages in the automotive service sector. The technological know-how and global network makes Vodafone Passo the ideal partner to keep the BMW Group in the top position in the area of navigation, information and online services and to upgrade these services over the long term. Today, Vodafone with its mobile telephony networks in 26 countries is the largest cellular operator worldwide and serves 78.7 million customers around the globe. Vodafone´s global network allows BMW, with the assistance of the navigation system and car phone, to provide customers in many countries with its mobile multi-band services.

    Just as the cooperation with Vodafone Passo today forms the basis for the mobile telematics service BMW ASSIST, Vodafone is the BMW Group´s strategic partner as a portal operator when it comes to the replacement of the current BMW 7 Series as the first Internet-capable production car: "As we started in the 1990s to network individual computers, so it is now a logical step to network automobiles to form a comprehensive mobile information network" says Dr. Burkhard Göschel, member of the Board of Management for development and purchasing of the BMW Group.

    From BMW ASSIST to the Mobile Internet Portal

    In collaboration with Vodafone Passo, the BMW Group has updated the BMW ASSIST telematics service and at the same time upgraded the product range. Automatic emergency calls in serious accidents, roadside assistance, real-time traffic information as well as mobility-related information services with more than 260,000 points of interest are now bundled in a clear and defined manner. In Germany BMW with its BMW ASSIST even today offers its customers data backloading, a process where desired navigation data, such as from petrol stations, hotels or venues, can be transmitted from an external BMW data centre into the navigation system of a moving car. With BMW ASSIST, BMW is also offered a chance for entirely new and regular customer contacts, which opens up new avenues in customer relations management.

    With BMW ASSIST, the networking of individual mobility has already got under way, but opens up completely new dimensions with the world´s first Internet-capable production car, the new BMW 7 Series. Karl-Heinz Kalbfell, Senior Vice President Group Marketing, is convinced that telematics and online services will in future take on the role of a virtual assistant that will relieve driving effort in any situation and will increasingly allow the driver to focus on what it is all about - the pleasure of motoring.

    Be it the BMW ASSIST telematics service or the automotive Internet portal - the keyword "Connected Drive" - combines all BMW innovations into a comprehensive driver assist concept. "Connected Drive" in this context stands for intelligent communication in the driver, vehicle and environment triangle. The systems based on this principle provide the driver with information in situations where he is unable to perceive such information or not reliably enough. Thus, the electronic assistants relieve driving effort and thereby contribute to safer, more efficient and more comfortable motoring.

ots Original Text Service: BMW Group Internet:

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