Faurecia-Aptoide signs up Mercedes in infotainment win over Google

Mercedes-Benz cars are on display for sale at a showroom in Saint Petersburg
Mercedes-Benz cars are on display for sale at a showroom in Saint Petersburg, Russia April 21, 2022. Picture taken April 21, 2022. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

PARIS, April 28 (Reuters) - Mercedes-Benz (MBGn.DE) will use embedded Faurecia-Aptoide technology to power navigation and other vehicle infotainment functions in a crucial win for the app provider against Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O) Google and other technology firms to control car dashboards.

The companies said on Thursday that under a multi-year partnership, from 2023 the joint venture between auto supplier Faurecia (EPED.PA) and independent app store Aptoide will integrate the German premium carmaker's MBUX multimedia system, with its open platform offering nearly 250 apps - navigation, traffic, streaming, payment solution, information on parking and charging stations.

Tech giants like Google and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) are in a race for a bigger share of the growing vehicle infotainment market. Faurecia-Aptoide's deputy general manager, Thomas Belin, told Reuters the Mercedes contract helps boost his company's position.

"Today, with such contracts we see that we have this critical mass (...) and that we are legitimate in this market," he said.

The joint venture between French supplier Faurecia and Portuguese Android application specialist Aptoide already has contracts with Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) and BMW (BMWG.DE) to provide their vehicles with its Android Automotive ecosystem.

Faurecia-Aptoide is also in talks with a French carmaker and premium car brand over using its app store in Europe - offering a tailor-made product carmakers can brand as their own.

"We are going to provide a much more customizable app store offer, where each manufacturer will be able to really appropriate the solution, choose their ecosystem and have control over personal data, which is an important issue", Belin said.

For instance, Belin said Faurecia-Aptoide can offer Volkswagen users a "myvolkswagen" account instead of a Google account.

Faurecia is part of Forvia, the European car parts maker created by its takeover of German rival Hella (HLE.DE).

In January, Faurecia said 3 million vehicles worldwide use its Aptoide platform, not including its new BMW and Mercedes contracts.

Reporting by Gilles Guillaume in Paris Writing by Nick Carey Editing by Matthew Lewis

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