• Mercedes-Benz and Garmin to partner for navigation
  • Chrysler already uses Garmin maps in its models
  • Garmin has signed a 4-year deal with Mercedes

Garmin will partner with Mercedes-Benz to provide navigation software for the brand's upcoming models. Already known for its portable GPS devices, Garmin also supplies in-dash navigation to several other automakers.

According to Garmin, it will integrate its navigation software into the Mercedes COMAND system. COMAND, which stands for cockpit management and data system, includes audio, telephone and navigation functions. It's controlled by a small wheel mounted in the center console of nearly every modern Mercedes.

Although the Mercedes navigation display will now include Garmin's maps, the company says little else will change. The infotainment screen directly above the climate controls will still retain the map. Drivers also will continue using the wheel to control the system, though voice control will be offered as well. The instrument panel's TFT display will include other data, such as immediate turn-by-turn directions.

Mercedes-Benz and Garmin have not yet announced which models will be the first to get the new navigation software. But Garmin said its new contract extends for the next four years, meaning the latest maps will likely be in every new Mercedes before long. We wouldn't be surprised to see the maps debut in the next-generation S-Class, which will be shown in May.

"Being selected by Daimler ... is a testament to Garmin's growing capability and exceptional product quality," said Matt Munn, Garmin's managing director for automotive. "We are honored by Daimler's confidence in Garmin, and we look forward to working with them to deliver an exceptional navigation experience for the world's most discerning drivers."

Mercedes isn't the first automaker to select Garmin for its navigation software. Chrysler already features Garmin's maps in its Uconnect infotainment system. That system is used by Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep vehicles equipped with navigation -- and we've found it highly intuitive in nearly all situations. Suzuki also used Garmin technology before its departure from the U.S. market late last year.

What it means to you: If you're considering a Mercedes, be prepared for an upcoming switch to Garmin maps.

author photo

Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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