The term connected cars was actually coined by Honda in India. One generation of the City and thereon other Honda cars could be had with this technology wherein one can remotely access the vehicle health and other service-related details through the Honda Connect app. However, it was nowhere an internet or connected car in the real sense. Today’s cars have evolved and now these have a real SIM card embedded in the infotainment system. Not only does this help the owner gain vital information about the car including the tyre pressure status but also “listens’ to your commands. For example, one can also remotely start the car or switch on the air-conditioner before entering the vehicle. The MG Hector was the first car to have wowed the audience with its wide suite of internet-connected functions. It was followed by the Hyundai Venue and then the Kia Seltos.
The Kia Seltos is also a good point to start with. Think about this. New manufacturer, unheard reliability and moreover, unproven service facilities. Still, the lure of having a feature-rich car and nonetheless an SUV with an embedded SIM helped Kia move more than 50,000 units (with internet) within a year. In this 50,000 a very small fraction also includes the Kia Carnival while the lion’s share was that of the Seltos. MG Motors too had to go through the same grind that Kia had to, a bit before at that. The British brand also had to contend with being called Chinese. Regardless of all this, more than 20,000 MG Hector and ZS EV cars with internet have been sold in the Indian market so far. Think of this, the Hector gets internet capabilities only in its top trims and these versions cost Rs 20 lakh, on-road.
Hyundai too has sold a fair share of Venues, Vernas, and now the Creta with connected car technology. However while the manufacturer is yet to share numbers, it is unclear if the cars have an active internet connection or if the customer has deactivated the service. Tata Motors too sells one car with connected car technology – the Nexon EV. The Tata Nexon EV, so far has sold around 300 units from the time it went on sale a few months ago.
However, none of this compares with another mass carmaker who recently moved to an all-connected car fleet. Yes, it is Ford India. All cars like the Ford Freestyle, Aspire, Figo and Endeavour come with an embedded SIM. Through this app, complimentary remote features like start/stop, lock/unlock, scheduling a start, locating car, and more can be done. What’s more, this is standard with even the base model and is called FordPass.
In the near future, the all-new Honda City too will get a proper connected car facility. This will be done by using Amazon Alexa. The upcoming Hyundai Tucson too will use the company’s BlueLink tech thereby making it a connected SUV. It may also be noted that Mercedes-Benz has been selling connected cars for quite a few years and the manufacturer also gives the provision for one to retrofit it as well, depending on the model year.
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