According to news published earlier today in France, Viamichelin will stop to produce its own portable navigation systems.
In the inner circles of European PND manufacturers it was well known that the brand, subsidiary of the tire maker, was losing money due to the lack of real market share and high marketing spendings. In 2007 its European market share was below five percents everywhere except in France, its historical market, where the company had a market share of more than ten percents. Additionally Viamichelin started to sell its products in 2007 in the United States, but its distribution remained limited. The announcement made today is the logical conclusion of this situation.
According to our information, the company would refocus its activities on providing services (real time traffic data, points of interests from the digital edition of the famous Michelin guide, etc…) to other PND manufacturers. However, Viamichelin is today looking for a manufacturing partner to keep its brand alive on the market. Navigon could become this partner according to news from CNET France.
The consolidation is therefore moving forward on the PND market, following on the acquisition of Navman by Mitac (in March 2007) and its final merger with Mio announced this week.