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BMW 7 Series Tops iSuppli's Automotive Technology Scorecard

April 10, 2009

EL SEGUNDO, CA - BMW's 7 Series has been named the world's most technologically advanced new vehicle in 2009 according to iSuppli Corp.'s Technology Availability Scorecard.

"For the fourth consecutive year, BMW has taken the leading OEM position in iSuppli's Technology Availability Index," said Phil Magney, vice president, automotive research, for iSuppli. "The updated version of the BMW 7 Series includes 30 of the 35 total features defined in iSuppli's Technology Ranking-the highest score ever recorded for an individual model in the four years this ranking has been conducted."

The 7 Series is a technological cornucopia, with a new 80Gbyte Hard Disk Drive (HDD) multimedia navigation system, an updated iDrive interface, a second-generation Night Vision system, a traffic sign recognition system and blind-spot detection. The 7 Series also offers a variety of built-in wireless features including an industry-first Internet browser, premium traffic, High Definition (HD) and Satellite Radio, Bluetooth, and a Harman Kardon Logic 7 surround sound system.

BMW also took the No.-2 spot on the model ranking, with its 5 Series coming in close behind the 7 Series with a score of 28. The BMW 6 Series received a score of 27, while the new Hyundai Equus, just released in Korea, came in with a score of 26.  The BMW X5, Lexus LS-the overall leader in 2006-and the Hyundai Genesis earned 25 points, while the BMW 3 Series, X6, and Toyota Crown received a score of 24.

Collectively, BMW has a larger number of technology features deployed across more of its models than any other OEM, thus putting it in the top position for the fourth straight year.

The attached figure presents iSuppli's 2009 Technology Availability Index ranking.

Hyundai Drives into Rankings

Beyond the BMW 7 Series, the most notable entry in the iSuppli's Technology Availability Index is Hyundai with its Genesis and Equus, joining an elite list by becoming the only manufacturer besides BMW and Toyota/Lexus to be ranked among the Top-10 most technologically advanced models.

"The Genesis scored 25 out of 35 points and the Equus 26," Magney said. "This is a remarkable feat that reflects Hyundai's increasing emphasis on getting cutting-edge technology into its newer cars."

Launched in 2008 in the Korean market, the Genesis features monitored telematics, a 30Gbyte HDD multimedia navigation system with real-time traffic, adaptive cruise control, rear-view camera, Bluetooth and a 17-speaker Lexicon branded premium sound system from Harman International. With the launch of the Hyundai Genesis, the Korean automaker has become part of an elite group occupied by only two other automakers.

This marks the second year Hyundai has made the list, and the Equus tops the Genesis with more Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) such as Lane Departure Warning.

Technology Trends

During the past year, iSuppli has observed a significant growth in shipments of advanced driver assist systems and has added driver monitoring to its key technologies tracked by the index. Furthermore, the importance of Internet-based route planning has lead iSuppli to add destination download as a key feature to the Technology Availability Index.

Of all technologies available on 2009 production vehicles, the most predominant is navigation, with 66 percent of all models (globally) for sale offering a standard or optional solution. Historically, navigation was limited to luxury vehicles and was priced accordingly. However, low-cost navigation systems are more common now, as automakers have brought this feature "down market" to mid- and entry-level models.

With the introduction of new HDD-based multimedia systems, BMW and other car manufacturers have increased the availability of HDD systems to 25 percent in the 2009 model year, up from 14 percent for 2008. Touch-screen technology also has seen a rise in popularity and has an availability of 34 percent in 2009, up from 26 percent last year.

The index also shows an increase in the selection of multimedia connectivity interfaces. USB ports were only available on 12 percent of all vehicles in 2008 and jumped to 25 percent for this year. The iPod, the most popular connectivity interface, is available on 33 percent of 2009 models.

Meanwhile, traditional telematics solutions that provide emergency call and automotive collision notification, while prevalent on BMW, GM and Lexus vehicles, are available on only 18 percent of new vehicles in the 2009 model year. News, weather and sports updates are available on 15 percent of all vehicles, while traffic and Points of Interest (POIs) can be found on 40 percent. Finally, remote diagnostics is only available on 8 percent, although it is expected to spread to more vehicles in the near future.

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