Factory Navigation

Is Factory Navigation Still Worth It?

With the prevalence of mobile phone mirroring programs like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and the growing acceptance of Android head units, is it still worth getting a factory navigation program with your new car?

Factory Navigation System

A Brief History of In-Car Navigation

There was a time when the automotive industry considered factory navigation installed on your dash as the “next big thing”. Travelling became more convenient after years of drivers struggling with paper and printed maps.  

Paper Map

Then, in-dash map devices from companies like TomTom ushered in the era of modern vehicle navigation. With just these highly portable devices (at that time, anyway), you can accurately determine your position in any location instead of stocking bulky maps all around your car.  Car owners, unsurprisingly, snatched these up immediately.

Manufacturers recognised the demand and began making similar devices available on their newer models. It was a massive hit in the auto industry. However, prospective owners got hit significantly on the pockets as well.

If you upgraded to a model with an OEM navigation system a decade ago, it would set you back close to a thousand dollars. Not only was the technology in low supply, but installation and maintenance also needed specialised labour. And these are not at all cheap.

The Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Effect

Then, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto happened in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

These programs made in-car navigation more accessible and affordable. You can now access free GPS-based maps and traffic navigation apps such as Waze, Google Maps, Apple Maps, and AmiGo and view them on your head unit display.

Since everyone has a smartphone in their pockets and a quality head unit upgrade is virtually one click away, you can understand why there is a waning interest in factory navigation systems. And being internet-based, new systems constantly display updated maps and offer extra information like traffic jams, road works, speed cameras locations, etc.  

And have we mentioned the “technological freedom” afforded to drivers of Android head units? Imagine having a mobile tablet stuck to your car dashboard!

Do You Still Want A Factory Navigation?

Well, there are still manufacturers offering their navigation systems like FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles). At the same time, there are still owners who see the value of having one.

And, there are a few positives of still getting a factory navigation system for your car:

  1. Warranty 

The manufacturer’s warranty usually covers this component since the navigation system came with the vehicle when you purchase it. If the system breaks down, you can just take it to your dealer for (hopefully) a quick fix.

  1. Resale Value

Used-car buyers give more value to a vehicle with a functioning factory navigation system still on it.

  1. Exclusive Manufacturer Features

Some factory navigation systems have built-in capabilities that only feature that specific vehicle brand. (e.g. exclusive points-of-interest, access to dealer/mechanic locations on the map)

  1. Convenience

There is no need to look for an aftermarket navigation system. You just need to download Android Auto or figure out how to use Apple CarPlay. It’s all there once you get in the car. 

And if you currently have this in your car and are wondering what a Vhedia head unit will offer, you do not have to worry about removing this outdated system. You will now have maps from your phone using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. 

And if you do not want to use these programs or are out of internet range, you also have the option to have map apps on the head unit itself. Vhedia offerAndroid-based head units where you can install offline map apps like Hema Maps, Waze, iGo or whatever suits you.

Our Final Word on Factory Navigation

Despite the positives of getting the factory navigation for your vehicle, it seems like this technology’s time has come and gone. Now, you can get better navigation programs while having access to messaging, audio, and other great apps for your car infotainment system. 

Waze interface

To be honest, it just doesn’t make much (financial) sense for manufacturers to push their products further when there are many more flexible and cheaper options on the market today. Unless they can develop a groundbreaking factory navigation technology, then aftermarket navigation systems, navigation apps, and modern head units are here to stay.

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