Nokia extends Navteq map data to BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen vehicles

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Nokia (NYSE:NOK) announced new partnerships with BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen and Hyundai to extend its Navteq mapping platform to the automakers' in-vehicle navigation systems.

Nokia will supply Navteq services including maps, routing information, driver alerts and speed limit guidance, tailoring packages for each partner. For example, BMW 7-series models will include Eco Pro Route, which leverages Navteq data to suggest routes that reduce fuel consumption by avoiding congestion and steep hills, while Nokia will provide Hyundai with technical support and customized marketing programs to increase navigation usage.

Nokia also trumpeted new agreements with consumer electronics manufacturer Pioneer, which will integrate Navteq location and commerce data into its navigation systems, as well as satellite navigation firm Garmin, which will tap Navteq transit and pedestrian content for its new Urban Guidance feature, introduced last week in Garmin's Navigon turn-by-turn apps for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone.

Nokia acquired Navteq for $8.1 billion in 2007. The device maker believes location data will play an increasingly critical role in all mobile communications moving forward and contends that its core Navteq assets--including turn-by-turn guidance information spanning 110 countries--put the company in a position to pose a legitimate challenge to Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), the top dog in location-enabled mobile services.

"For location to be meaningful, you need a map and a map platform--either you go in and spend multiple years creating that asset or you acquire that asset," said Nokia's Executive Vice President of Location and Commerce Michael Halbherr during a recent Nokia media event in Chicago. "Over the years we've built this asset, and that brings us into a very strong position. It's not something you can catch up to very quickly."

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