Some interesting integrations and acquisitions within the Auto industries. First off, Kia will be integrating Google Maps into their car dashboards. While this will hardly be a reason to buy a Kia, the U/X is interesting and very similar to Google’s Chrome to Phone widget.
Users will also be able to send a POI or a destination to their car using a smartphone app, find the newest Kia dealership using Google Places, and control their on-board navigation system through voice commands.
I wonder if Kia will now be partnering with Google to provide cars for their ubiquitous Google Maps auto driving car or other such efforts.
In another Auto related move, Avis continues to try harder by this time snapping up the urban-ly popular ZipCar for a cool half a bil. To me, this move seems to be a bit of a defensive move on Avis’ part as it is clear that “traditional” rental car retailers are getting hit by these “quick rent” services like ZipCar, especially now that they have expanded up from hourly to the traditional daily rental space. In a way, Avis was probably a bit worried about the “WalMart Effect”, where a smart upstart competitor (ZipCar = WalMart) started eating away at market share by attacking a vulnerable area of the market (unserved market of urbanites/college kids who need a car to do quick errands or take a day trip = WalMart going after low income markets early on). Maybe Avis wasn’t in the mood to wake up one day and realize they were Sears.
And if we all really think about it, the car is just another device in the American household. Just a really expensive one.