Fleet News

Citroen targeting company drivers with voice-activated e-car

PACESETTING computer communications equipment is to be made available on most Citroen vehicles from next year. A Windows CE package initially developed for the Xsara hatchback and estate range will also be optional on the Xantia replacement model, the Synergie MPV and XM.

The decision to extend availability has been made as production of 500 Windows CE-equipped Xsara Exclusive models for domestic buyers nears completion and technicians adapt the voice-activated system for the Spanish, Italian and British markets.

Marketing executive Nicolas Nieto said: 'We realise that our main target for this package has to be the fleet area and it is obvious that drivers in this sector do not want to be restricted to the Xsara Exclusive. It will become more widely available. The plan is for it to fit 80% of the range. Ultimately, customers will be able to specify this equipment on the Saxo and our commercial vehicles,'

Early versions of the package, which offers satellite navigation, the facility to send and receive e-mails and hands-free mobile phone operation as well as normal radio, CD and audio functions, have been well accepted in France at an equivalent cost of little more than £1,000.

Nieto said: 'We believe Windows CE has a high potential across many markets. It fits into the standard ISO dashboard slot for radios and is attractively priced despite being sophisticated. Our hope is that higher demand will lead to greater production volumes. This in turn should result in reduced prices.'

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