Android
Google Android Auto/digitaltrends.com

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi carmaking alliance said on Tuesday it will adopt Alphabet’s Google Android operating system.

This is seen as handing a victory to the U.S. tech giant as it pushes for a bigger share of the infotainment market.

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Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi, with combined sales of 10.6 million vehicles last year, said future models will “integrate Google applications and services” including Maps and the voice-commanded Google Assistant.

The move, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, leans more heavily on Big Tech than large or luxury rival carmakers have hitherto been willing to do. Many fear losing control of customer relationships, data and potentially significant future revenue from connected services.

Some smaller manufacturers such as Volvo Cars have decided to embed Android Auto in their vehicles. But the scale of the shift by Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi may cause a broader rethink of costly standalone tech strategies.

“Major carmakers earlier were reluctant to do business with Google, but this has now changed,” said Jauke de Jong, a research analyst at AFS Group in Amsterdam. “More carmakers could follow suit and partner with Google.”

Until now, carmakers have largely chosen Linux, Microsoft or QNX software to power infotainment. That yields clunkier platforms they can control, but which offer little scope to add new apps or functionality.