Sony Car Navigation System – Case Analysis.
Car Navigation systems’ demand characterization in Japan, Europe and US. Car navigation systems (CNS) demand is mainly determined by different car driving environments and drivers preferences. Both factors vary across markets and determine CNS’s most valuable features for each market. In 1996, Japan was the world largest CNS market with sales of 850,000 units. Several factors accounted for CNS strong popularity. First, a highly complicated Japanese road system which lacked road names and signs and where drivers highly depended on maps and landmarks to drive, made driving very difficult. A CNS equipped with an accurate map might be extremely valuable for drivers. This observation was reflected in consumer and dealer surveys (Exhibit 10), in which Japanese drivers stressed that a map display was essential for route guidance and that accuracy of map and map-matching was the most important factor influencing their purchase decision. Second, Japanese mostly use cars for leisure driving on weekends, usually in unknown cities. Thus, a CNS equipped with points of interest and route guidance would add great value to Japanese drivers. Based on Japan’s demand drivers and Japanese high willingness to pay for car electronic devices (many drivers may invest more than $ 2,000 in car electronic devices), CNS enjoy a strong demand in Japan. With only 30,000 units sold in 1996, the European CNS market was in a very early stage. Although a complex road system, almost all roads had names and traffic signs so a simple voice guidance CNS system (without map display) may be sufficient for European drivers. Europeans frequently drive across borders, so multi-lingual guidance and multi road regulations would be valuable features for CNS in Europe. Currently, CNS in Europe was positionated as a high end product available on luxury vehicles such as BMW Series 7 and 5 and Mercedes S-class models. With only 20,000 units sold in 1996, the US...
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