Fleet News

Telematics trio in joint venture

Ford of Europe, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and Renault-Nissan are joining together to develop telematics systems that could dramatically reduce fleet costs.

The three partners will set up a series of call centres to help drivers in case of emergencies. The centres will help support a series of sophisticated new telematics initiatives designed to improve in-car communications and fleet efficiency.

The use of telematics could save fleet managers between seven and 17% of their operating costs, Ford Europe's president and chief operating officer Martin Leach recently claimed.

New systems will provide mileage reports, route scheduling and vehicle tracking, he said, as well as cutting maintenance, fuel and wage bills. Telematics could also raise the residual value of vehicles by optimizing their use.

Leach called for greater standardization in telematics software across the auto industry to lower costs through mass production.

The agreement between Ford, PSA and Renault will accelerate standardization, says analysts.

Asked whether he would welcome other joint ventures, Leach said he was open to the idea, but that he would like to see Ford's three-way relationship with PSA and Renault-Nissan 'get up and running first.'

Volvo launched its own emergency call centre at the start of 2002 in its home market of Sweden.

Drivers there press a button on a telephone in the car's dashboard to reach the call centre. The centre then contacts ambulance or repair services.

But now the Swedish marque - owned by Ford - wants to achieve full European coverage for the system by 2005 with the help of the Ford, PSA and Renault joint venture, according to Hans Folkesson, Volvo's senior vice president in charge of research and development.

Ford of Europe has also developed a similar kind of service for the UK and Germany.

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