Hyundai Motor Co. is set to disclose an agreement with Verizon Communications Inc. that will see the provision of wireless service in its cars and trucks in the United States. Verizon's service will first be available this year on 2015 Hyundai models, starting with the Genesis sedan in May, Mark Bartolomeo, a vice president at Verizon Enterprise Solutions, told Bloomberg in an interview.
The cars will initially use 3G wireless service and eventually will shift to faster 4G technology. The Verizon service will also be available in Kia vehicles. Carmakers are racing to connect their vehicles to the Internet as in-car technology has become the top selling point for 39 percent of auto buyers, Accenture has said.
General Motors earlier disclosed this month an agreement with AT&T Inc. to provide 4G LTE wireless service in its Chevrolet models. "We chose Verizon because of their coverage and quality, while other outlets have issues with dropped calls," according to Hyundai spokesman Miles Johnson, adding that Verizon's coverage is “more robust." IHS Automotive expects the number of cars connected to the Internet globally to surge more than six-fold to 152 million in 2020 from the current 23 million.
GM, Audi and Tesla Motors each announced plans to offer Web service in their vehicles, including Wi-Fi hot spots for tablets and laptops. According to Bartolomeo, Verizon also has agreements with Mercedes-Benz and Toyota Motor Corp. Verizon's service will eventually be offered in all of Hyundai's models in the US. Hyundai posted a 2.5-percent growth in US to 720,783 cars and trucks in 2013 while Kia logged a 4-percent drop in US sales to 535,179 models.