Corporate partnerships and integrated purchasing solutions are all the rage right now in the auto industry. While it’s easy to miss the appeal, as credit cards are pretty easy to use when cash isn’t an option and most modern phones have similar applications, car-based transitions are on the rise. Now, Hyundai’s joining Xevo to provide its own branded in-car purchasing platform.
Like similar services, Hyundai owners will be able to sync their credit card with the vehicle and use it to locate and buy food, fuel, and parking (from participating companies). Also under development is the Hyundai Digital Wallet, “which stores a customer’s payment information and facilitates secure processing, for a seamless checkout experience to enable in-car commerce.”
Hyundai hasn’t established an official launch date — or nailed down the final design — but it insists the system is coming. Initial partners include Chevron and Texaco-branded gas stations, Applebee’s To Go and ParkWhiz. Out of the three, the parking solution seems the most useful by far. But if you absolutely refuse to get out of your seat to procure a bundle of mozzarella sticks, Hyundai (like GM) will eventually have you covered.
“We are always learning and exploring with Blue Link, having worked with technologies like Google Glass, Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, Wear OS and Apple Watch,” said Cason Grover, a senior group manager at Hyundai Motor America’s vehicle technology planning division. “Usage-based insurance and in-vehicle payment can offer savings and convenience to our customers, and we look forward to offering these services.”
However, like all connected car news, there’s a dark smudge we have to address. While it wasn’t directly mentioned in this particular release, Hyundai also partnered with data firm Verisk earlier in the year. As a result, the automaker will provide the analytics company with driving data from its connected car owners. That information will then be sent to insurance companies, provided the driver consents (or neglects to opt out of the agreement).
“Our alliance with Verisk will enable new value-added services for our customers,” said Manish Mehrotra, director of digital business planning and connected operations for Hyundai Motor America. “Hyundai customers will have access to their portable “Verisk Driving Score,” which can lead to discount offers on UBI programs and support driver feedback that helps improve their driving.”
This could also lead to insurance companies trying to mandate this kind of thing in the future, penalizing motorists who don’t want their information shared (or who engage in the occasional bout of spirited driving). It’s just speculation for now, but we don’t love the precedent this sets.
It’s nothing to smile about.