Japanese automaker Toyota launched a new smartphone application called Toyota Connect it offers a range of solutions to increase ownership experience of car buyers who are quickly getting capable with technology. First revealed at the 2016 Auto Expo, the Toyota Connect application offers solutions related to navigation, roadside assistance and vehicle service. The navigation feature contains downloadable maps with live traffic updates, lane leadership, voice guidance and speed limit display. Users can avail services such as assisted route guidance, with 24×7 operator service, and GPS-based roadside assistance in case of an emergency. The app also features vehicle service reminders and live service status. Customers can also locate their nearest Toyota dealer and pay service costs online through the smartphone application. Akitoshi Takemura, senior vice president, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, says that the concierge services under Toyota Connect, which offer personalized suggestions to Toyota owners, are a big differentiator from other widely available applications offering just navigational features. Carmakers such as Nissan are already working on introducing advanced connected-car solutions in its vehicles.
Takemura says that the Toyota Connect app will play a vital role in enabling transition to advanced connected-car technology like onboard diagnostics and real-time driver solutions. “There are already over 200 million smartphones users in India. We believe this smartphone app is a stepping stone towards connected cars. We want our customers to get introduced to in-car connectivity first. Once that happens, we can introduce advanced connected-car technology, but that will be expensive,” said Takemura. The launch of the Toyota Connect app follows a similar move by other carmakers, such as Honda and Nissan, who are rapidly introducing such services to suit the digital lifestyle of car buyers. Toyota’s app can be used by existing as well as new Toyota vehicle owners and is available for Android and iOS devices. Its services can be availed free of cost for a year, following which some features will have to be paid for.