By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Wingcast, a joint telematics venture between Ford and Qualcomm, will be entering the car audio aftermarket with vehicle locator products late this year through an exclusive partnership with Directed Electronics (DEI), the companies announced here.
DEI will offer a vehicle-tracking product using the Wingcast all-digital CDMA-based service. It will allow users to track their vehicles over the Internet and contains remote-start capability and Geo-Fencing, which automatically notifies subscribers by phone, e-mail or pager if their vehicles travel beyond a certain geographical parameter set by users.
DEI is expected to offer the product through its network of 6,000 aftermarket outlets, which include Best Buy and Circuit City, Wingcast said. The duration of Wingcast's exclusive agreement with DEI was not stated.
DEI president and CEO Jim Minarik said DEI chose to partner with Wingcast because it is the only telematics service to offer digital CDMA. "With Wingcast, we can deliver a scalable system that will offer superior value and more features than our competitors can for the same price," said Minarik.
Wingcast, a telematics company similar to GM's OnStar, was launched in October 2000 and will begin offering an OEM telematics system to Ford and Nissan later this year.
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