Newswire

Subaru cars to adopt Toyota telematics system

TOKYO, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp , Japan's biggest automaker, said on Monday it had agreed with Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd to let Fuji's Subaru-brand vehicles carry its "G-Book" information and entertainment system.

Under a basic agreement unveiled by the two Japanese automakers, Toyota's G-Book telematics system would be loaded into Subaru cars to be sold in Japan in and after 2004.

G-Book, which is linked to the car navigation system, offers a wide range of interactive services from downloading music and karaoke to playing games and customised news reports.

The firms said in a joint statement that details of their alliance, including the name of specific models, conditions and timings would be decided later.

By forming what they dubbed the "first fully fledged alliance in the nation's telematics market", Toyota aims to make G-Book the industry standard in a highly lucrative market that some analysts say could top 60 trillion yen ($505.6 billion) in Japan.

The alliance is also seen as important for Toyota to brave competition with similar systems at rival automakers, such as Nissan Motor Co's CarWings and Honda Motor Co's InterNavi.

"Will Cypha", launched in October, was the first Toyota car equipped with G-Book. The automaker said all of its models released from mid-2003 that are equipped with navigation systems will include G-Book.

The alliance was announced after the Tokyo stock market had closed.

Shares in Toyota ended down 0.35 percent at 2,875 yen, while those in Fuji Heavy, owned 20 percent by General Motors Corp of the United States, were down 0.66 percent at 455 yen. The Nikkei average rose 0.6 percent.

($1=118.67 yen)