July 17, 2006

Avis and Budget offer Garmin "Where2" GPS

Avis Budget Car Rental, LLC today announced that Avis Rent A Car and Budget Rent A Car will begin offering Where2 -- a Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation system built by Garmin -- in 125 locations throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Recall that Avis had/has an offering that relies on a Moto phone that allows you to call a center and get directions delivered over the phone. My hunch is that Garmin GPS units are so intuitive that most renters can figure them out in a few minutes.

Want a scorecard on who suppliesGPS units to what car rental agency? More after the Jump...

Based on Garmin's popular new StreetPilot c550, Where2 offers Avis and Budget customers an array of navigation features -- like a simple user interface, real-time traffic alerts, Bluetooth hands-free calling capability, multiple language and gender voice guidance with spoken street names, 3-dimensional maps, a high-bright display, a high sensitivity GPS receiver, MP3 compatibility and much more. The unit is fully portable and can be used in any Avis or Budget vehicle.

"We're pleased to be offering our customers a GPS system that is superior to any other system available in a car rental today," said Becky Alseth, senior vice president of marketing at Avis Budget Car Rental, LLC, parent of Avis and Budget. "Our customers told us what they wanted and will really benefit from the array of technology features and the ease of use that Where2 brings to the industry. This makes asking for directions a thing of the past."

"The new Avis and Budget Where2 has virtually every feature and convenience that a traveler could want," said Gary Kelley, Garmin's vice president of marketing. "Business travelers and family vacationers alike will find simplicity, safety, and serious utility in the Where2 navigator."

Motorists who have never experienced GPS navigation will quickly master the device's intuitive menus. Where2 gives drivers turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions to virtually any destination in the U.S., Canada, or Puerto Rico, all on a bright and easy-to-read touch screen display. Pre-loaded road maps of the entire U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico include addresses and nearly six million points of interest -- including hotels, restaurants, gas stations, ATMs, and tourist attractions. Where2 also has a text-to-speech feature available in 20 text languages with 36 voice options that speaks the name of the next turn ("turn right on Main Street") instead of simply calling out distances ("turn right in 500 feet") -- particularly useful on busy and unfamiliar roadways.

To help ensure travelers make those important appointments on time, Where2 notifies drivers of upcoming traffic snarls, construction tie-ups, and weather delays (where available) and automatically suggests timesaving routes. Traffic information is provided by Clear Channel's Total Traffic Network and is available in nearly 50 cities across the United States.

For added safety and convenience, Where2 also features Bluetooth wireless capability with an integrated microphone and dual speakers that allow users to place hands-free mobile phone calls when connected to a compatible Bluetooth phone. Customers may also retrieve and dial numbers from their phone's personal contact list, from the handset's call history log or from the Where2 navigator's huge points of interest database.

Where2 is also programmed with all Avis and Budget locations as well as Avis and Budget reservation and roadside assistance contact information, airline contact information for 250 carriers worldwide, and a unique guide to nearby AM/FM radio stations.

Equipped with a new high-sensitivity GPS receiver, Where2 acquires a GPS signal quickly and is capable of maintaining a signal even in "urban canyons" created by city skyscrapers.

Score Card
Avis - Garmin with the Where2 GPS Based on the StreetPilot C550
Hertz - Magellan units - the original partnership - also linked with Hertz Europe.
Enterprise - Garmin makes a StreetPilot C340 for Enterprise.
Dollar/Thrifty - Garmin StreetPilot C330 Units.
National Car Rental - Moto phone based directions.

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Posted by Scott Martin at July 17, 2006 5:02 PM

Recent Comments

We recently used the Garmin,Where2 system while away on vacation and were amazed at its accuracy in navigation! We were surrounded by mountains and took many backroads and it was still able to pick up all of the little side streets and get us out of where we were at. My husband is rarely impressed, but this amazed him too. We are now in the market looking to purchase a unit for our vehicle.

Posted by: Gaby at October 2, 2007 9:07 PM
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