• Kyodo


Toyota Motor Corp. plans to introduce an e-commerce system that uses mobile phones, car navigation systems and FM radio stations across Japan, Toyota officials said.

Starting in August, Toyota will enable drivers and passengers to place orders over cellphones for CDs containing music they hear on the radio, the officials said Wednesday.

Consumers will be allowed to do the same beginning next spring through their car navigation systems, they said.

Information on music heard in cars will be available by contacting, via the Web, Media Click, a venture that Toyota will set up in July with Dentsu Inc. and other allies, they said.

The program will eventually allow people in autos to buy any goods and make restaurant bookings through the car navigation system.

To enable the system to work, FM stations will automatically send to Media Click information about the music they are airing round-the-clock as it airs.

After receiving inquiries over the Internet, Media Click will allow consumers to either learn more about the music or buy the CD, the officials said.

Subscription to the service will be free for the initial year and cost a few hundred yen from the second year.

Recipients of the service based on the car navigation system will be able to download music to the system’s memory devices and will be able to get information on the Net on shops where they can buy the CD.

Toyota envisions introducing similar services in Europe, Asia and the United States in the future.

Radio broadcasters will receive a certain percentage of the value of CDs bought by subscribers, and will be freed from the complications of responding to up to 1,000 inquiries a day about the music they play.

According to the officials, drivers will eventually be able to buy books or reserve seats at restaurants introduced during a radio program.

The government envisages converting Japanese automobiles into “Internet cars” — equipped with highly sophisticated computer terminals that will enable drivers to access a range of information services.

Toyota’s latest business plan will pave the way for the government plan to be fulfilled, the officials said.

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