Rover signs up for traffic system

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The Independent Online
Trafficmaster is in advanced discussions with BMW to fit all new Rover cars with its Oracle audio traffic information system, say industry sources. Insiders also reveal Cellnet as the identity of the cellular telephone operator which in July signed a pounds 15m, three-year deal with Trafficmaster to provide live traffic information through its mobile phone handsets.

Speaking as Trafficmaster reported half-year losses more than halved and said it would break into profit this year after signing three contracts since April worth pounds 30m, Bill McIntosh, finance director said he could not comment on the identity of partners, but hoped to announce "a couple" of new tie-ups before the year-end. "Timing depends on our customers. But we are talking to all the major car makers," he said.

A deal with Rover would be Trafficmaster's third with a car manufacturer. Vauxhall, which already fits Oracle in all its new Vectra cars, has agreed to a new two-year agreement worth pounds 12.5m to buy 150,000 units a year. Vauxhall will also fit the Oracle system, which beams local traffic information through the car radio, as standard in its Omega model.

Mr McIntosh said the Vauxhall and cellular phone contracts alone should deliver 170,000 units in the second half of 1997. Analysts predict full- year profits of up to pounds 700,000 compared with losses of pounds 594,000 in the six months to June on sales more than doubled to pounds 2.88m.