Mercedes has announced it will offer free mapping updated for the SatNav on COMAND equipped cars with effect from the 2011MY.
Car makers have done pretty well out of SatNav. For a long time it was the ‘Must Have’ extra and car makers charged through the nose for it. They still do. Yes, a big percentage of cars now get a SatNav built in, but just look at the costs if they don’t.
BMW will sting you £1,460 on a 1-Series; Mercedes £1,150 on an A Class and Audi £1,150 on an A1. And remember, these are option prices on a bottom of the range car from the cheapest model range. Cuckoo Land springs to mind.
But the days of the easy money maker on SatNavs is almost over. The fact that there are so many after market SatNavs has not made a huge difference to the amount of SatNavs optioned on cars, but the fact that Smart Phones are now starting to come with some very credible mapping and SatNav options built in means car makers have to wake up.
Renault has seen the light and is offering the TomTom, which is both easily updated and sanely priced. And Mercedes has decided that from the 2011MY they will ‘Give Away’ free map updates for all cars fitted with COMAND for the first three years. Not a lot, but better than nothing.
But times they are a changing, and in the next few years we are going to see many cars using an apps based system – just like iPhone and Google phones – which will allow for quick, easy and cost-effective updates to software. In fact, we expect to see a lot of budget cars using the hardware in phones like the iPhone to deliver functionality in cars.
So car makers will have to look for another ‘Easy Money’ option box for punters to tick.