The Chinese telematics market is still at its infancy with only Toyota having launched full cellular services. However, there is a slightly longer history of traffic information services with both Audi and Nissan having launched services in 2008.
SBD expects that 1 million vehicles equipped with OE telematics systems will be on the road in China by the end of 2013. This represents fast growth but will leave China still a long way behind the fitment levels of the US, in particular.
Traffic information is a fundamental telematics service as it can facilitate dynamic navigation avoiding congestion. This function is very important to consumers and is a benefit of telematics that can be easily demonstrated by the vehicle manufacturer.
Traffic information collection and distribution activities are flourishing across much of China with services emerging in many cities through local organizations. The data is being collected through a combination of GPS monitoring of taxi fleets and also through roadside traffic control infrastructure.
In terms of the delivery of traffic information in China, there are still two rival broadcast technologies; RDS TMC from Europe and RTIC based on the Japanese VICS system. SBD thinks these two methods will continue to coexist for as long as the demand exists from vehicle manufacturers.
As OE telematics services become more widespread in China, delivery of traffic and routing information via a cellular link will gain in importance.
It is still very early to gather conclusive data on the consumer response to G-Book in China. However, information released by Toyota in Japan last month indicates that G-Book has had a high level of influence on the vehicle purchase decision and that using the operator to set the destination of the navigation system is by far the most popular service.
SBD is currently performing a series of G-Book Consumer Surveys to gather insight into the opinions of drivers that have actually used the system and also drivers of other vehicle brands that will be given test drives of Toyota models equipped with G-Book. Some initial results from this research will be shared with the delegates at this year’s Telematics@China event in Shanghai.