Chrysler has announced it will be bringing in-dash internet to Chrysler products...fast.
Initially the user will need a wireless phone subscription to access the Internet, because the system relies on the signal from cellular towers. The company hopes to provide full coverage without a separate mobile phone line in future, however.But there is more to this story. It's not a radio story, but one of how a troubled company in a troubled industry is changing how it operates and deploys new ideas and technologies.
Working and thinking like a small company is how Chrysler hopes to weather the current economic storm. We told you just last week about Chrysler’s plan to implement new technologies and product updates on-demand rather than waiting for product refresh cycles, and now it looks like one of the first implementations of the fast-moving method with be the addition of in-car web access to its lineup.Bravo!
Chrysler hopes to be the first maker to sell vehicles equipped with on-the-go access. BMW announced its own in-car Internet access plan in late February this year, but will only be rolling web-enabled cars off its assembly line at the end of 2008, and even then only in Europe. Rather than wait for its factories to gear up for the production, Chrysler will be sending the units straight to the dealers to be installed. Once the factory installation is ramped up, they will take over for the dealers, according to the Washington Post.
The move is not just focused on bringing extra features to Chrysler cars, but also to Chrysler dealerships. Robert Nardelli, Chrysler CEO, said “We’re aggressively moving to capture more of the customer service and parts business by focusing on what dealers need to increase their profitability.”
Chrysler is the first US automaker to jump into what will be a rapidly growing segment of standard equipment--in dash internet. And while that's a story by itself; I think it is noteworthy that this old line company, under new management, is adjusting its operational mentality to try to be nimble and responsive. A move that could change the company's fortunes going forward.
It takes courage and vision to make these moves...the same two words that need to fuel the radio industry in the months and years to come.
You can read this and other motoring stories at Motor Authority