Despite tough market conditions, TomTom has managed to perform consistently and is the market leader within Europe for portable navigation devices (PNDs). The company enjoys a significant 45 per cent market share and has retained its 24 per cent share in the North American market. The strong brand value associated with its quality products is the reason for this success. Despite the recession, the company has been profitable and continues to expand its geographic footprint while improving its position in the market.
While PNDs dominate the navigation market, the declining hardware prices and fierce competition among PND manufacturers have resulted in shrinking margins since 2007. However, TomTom has been able to find new revenue streams by constantly improving its PNDs. In Oct 2009, TomTom introduced an entry level PND priced at €129. The company released connected PNDs, which allow dynamic information transfer for up-to-date traffic information among other features. These services are collectively called TomTom Live Services. At the end of 2009, 25 per cent of connected PND customers had extended their service contracts after the trial period.
"It is essential to constantly develop innovative products and solutions to address the changing market as well as customer needs in such a dynamic market," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Vishnu Muralidharan. "TomTom formulated a growth strategy to penetrate the automotive embedded market that remained expensive, complicated, limited to luxury cars and featured content and maps that were outdated before the car ever left the dealer."
In 2009, TomTom, along with its partner Renault, delivered the in-dash navigation Carminat TomTom solution – a breakthrough OEM navigation device that is easy to use, looks great built into the dashboard, and meets all the automotive qualities and safety requirements. This foray enables TomTom to compete with factory-fit navigation systems suppliers, thereby elevating its position from being an accessory at dealerships to being able to leverage its navigation and supply chain expertise.
The company announced an update to Carminat TomTom solution in Sep 2009. This is a significant move because it addresses rapid obsolescence, the most important concern within the automotive industry. TomTom’s solution provides an easy way to upgrade features with the same set of hardware in the car.
The company has also achieved $124 million in cost savings target by optimising its marketing and supply-chain efforts.
Further, TomTom has developed a dynamic location referencing technology as an open standard for the navigation, mapping and intelligent transport industry (ITS), called OpenLR™. OpenLR™ has been designed for traffic information systems and dynamic route guidance, and is available as an open-source technology. It easily gets adapted to the requirements of system integrators, and the technical community can contribute with their ideas to improve it. Having the map database in-house is a huge advantage for TomTom that provides the company with opportunities to address personal and automotive markets and withstand price pressure from the market.
TomTom, already present in the mobile market, decided to launch specific navigation applications for various operating systems and target the growing iphone market. The company sold 180,000 apps, from August – December 2009, of its €100 navigation application in the first six months of its release in 2009.
"Competitors have also announced similar strategies and are targeting various segments such as automotive embedded navigation, mobile phone navigation and continuous improvement of PNDs," notes Muralidharan. "The difference lies in the level of effort undertaken by TomTom to ensure that all the three categories have the best products by translating its highly successful PND knowledge base into the automotive and mobile markets."
TomTom also took an auxiliary approached to the automotive navigation market by introducing a new portable embedded navigation, one that was fixed in the car and could be used as portable PND at the same time. This solution is available for Toyota cars and in 2009; a second-generation product was announced. The company also implemented an integrated infotainment system with a portable navigation device co-developed with Fiat Group Automobiles in 2009, called the Blue&Me TomTom. Overall, TomTom is expanding its footprint across various sectors, using its experience in the PND market to deliver the products that the customers want, through various channels.
"The fact that Toyota has once again signed up with TomTom is an important validation of TomTom's ability to bring the best quality navigation and services to the car, small and medium-sized cars in particular," says Muralidharan. "Whether it is a semi-embedded or fully embedded solution, the company has ensured that the customers receive all of TomTom's exclusive services."
TomTom has also won several awards for its products. The company is considered one among the reputed companies known to deliver best-in-class services to its customers and satisfy them. Overall, TomTom has exhibited strong strategies, robust implementation, high innovation and strong value to customers, making it the worthy recipient of the 2010 Europe Frost & Sullivan Company of the Year Award in the automotive navigation market.
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has demonstrated unparalleled excellence within its industry. The award is based on the company's business development, competitive strategy, customer satisfaction and leadership. The recipient is perceived to exhibit outstanding management and consistent growth. The company must offer high quality products and/or services and have positive social and economic impact on local and national communities. The company should have proven expertise in taking advantage of market changes by capturing and solidifying market presence, or through execution of innovative strategies within the existing competitive landscape.
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About TomTom N.V.
TomTom N.V. (AEX: TOM2) is the world's leading provider of location and navigation solutions. Headquartered in the Netherlands it has over 3,000 employees worldwide. More than 40 million people use its solutions every day, in the form of dedicated portable navigation devices (PNDs), in-dash car systems or tracking and tracing solutions for fleet management. In addition, hundreds of millions of people use TomTom's digital maps on the internet or mobile phones.
In 2009, TomTom reported €1.5 billion in revenues and a €340 million net cash flow from operating activities. More information about TomTom can be found at TomTom.com/.
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