BMW Offers Free Real-Time Traffic

By Amy Gilroy On Sep 25 2006 - 6:00am

San Antonio, Texas — Clear Channel announced it is providing real time traffic to BMW in an arrangement that makes BMW the first car maker to offer live traffic without a monthly fee.

Real-time traffic will be available on the navigation systems in BMW 3-,5- and 6-series, X5, M5 and M6 models. BMW has already begun to offer the service on some of these models, said Clear Channel.

By removing the service fee, Clear Channel said it will help broaden the market for real time traffic.

“Every time we do surveys with consumers to find out what they want and don't want, the biggest negative is always the subscription fee. They'd rather pay a one-time fee and have real-time traffic included in the life of the vehicle,” said Jeff Littlejohn, Clear Channel senior director of product development.

He added that J.D. Power and Associates recently completed a study that found that consumers chose a $1,500 navigation option on a vehicle 29 percent of the time, but when real time traffic was added (without a monthly fee) the take rate increased to 44 percent.

Littlejohn said this trend has already occurred in Europe where service fees are bundled in the price of the car.

Currently real-time traffic fees run from $60 to $120 per year on navigation in vehicles or on portable GPS.

Clear Channel said the BMW 6 series will offer real-time traffic as standard equipment and the other models will offer it as an option. Clear Channel said it is also in discussions with other automakers.

Note: TWICE's coverage of portable GPS can be found in the Portable Digital Devices section.

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