Report: BMW tops connected car rankings among automakers

Nearly every automaker in the world is getting into the connected-car market. They are adding wireless connectivity to their newest vehicles and striking deals with carriers as well as Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and BlackBerry's (NASDAQ:BBRY) QNX for software. Yet it's difficult to gauge how robust a car maker's overall connected-car portfolio actually is. M2M research firm Machina Research is attempting to do that.

In a study sponsored by Vodafone, Machina found that BMW ranks first among all car makers for its connected-car lineup. Machina reported that BMW, with its ConnectedDrive service, topped the list, followed by General Motors, which has carved out a sizable chunk of the market with its OnStar service. Ford Motor Co. came in third place thanks to its scale and increasing focus on developing an embedded offering. Meanwhile, Machina said the all-round sophistication and comparative maturity of their offerings allowed Audi and Chrysler to round out the top five.

Machina said the overall ranking looked at a combination of weighted criteria, including which in-car services are available, the openness of the system to developers, as well as the overarching purpose of the connectivity. For instance, Machina found that Mercedes Benz and Tesla lack the volumes of sales to feature at the top of the ranking, but are the two manufacturers for whom connected-car services are most central to their overall strategy. Toyota, Volkswagen and Honda benefited from their scale and anticipated connected-car volumes.

Some of the criteria Machina used to make its rankings include the percentage of global vehicle car sales with embedded connectivity; the percentage of global vehicle car sales with embedded LTE connectivity; whether embedded connectivity is solely to satisfy eCall requirements in Europe or to provide extended or enhanced connectivity for a suite of services; the range of services available through the vehicle platform; the levels of integration between the vehicle platform and mobile applications, other devices, web portal management, and data management; and the "openness" of the vehicle platform in terms of application development and management. Release

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