HomeThe MarketFord v GM: It’s not horsepower this time, it’s map apps

Ford v GM: It’s not horsepower this time, it’s map apps

In this corner, Mappo. In that corner, Maps+


There’s a new weapon of choice in the battle between Detroit-based automakers (sorry Chrysler, but last we heard you’re part of a French/Italian/American corporate conglomerate). This time the weapon isn’t horsepower or even electric-vehicle range, but map apps.

“Ford and Mappo enrich the traditional road trip through history, books, movies and music,” Ford proclaimed in a news release announcing its claim as the first automaker to offer the new in-car app for Ford vehicles equipped with Sync 3 or Sync 4 infotainment technology.

“General Motors debuts Maps+, an in-vehicle app-based navigation system,” Ford’s rival countered. 

Mappo closeup | Ford photo

“Ford vehicles now offer another way to enrich people’s car rides and road trips, whether they’re preparing to enjoy the great outdoors or rediscover their own neighborhoods after more than a year of lockdowns and restrictions,” Ford said in its announcement.

“Mappo is a new way to explore the world around you through the lens of history, popular culture, architecture, sports and more – all supported by audio content from literary icons, historians, authors, musicians and others. 

“People love telling their friends about interesting places in books, movies and music – now they can share these passions with the world through Mappo,” said Stuart Taylor, global director, Ford enterprise connectivity. “Mappo makes long drives or brief escapes richer experiences, whether people stay inside their vehicle or step out to experience a landmark.”

How it works: Ford said Mappo launches with more than 30,000 point-of-interest cultural references across more than a dozen major cities in the U.S., Europe and Asia. 

“The app allows you to browse points of interest nearby, or you can use the search box to look up themed routes based on a place, the name of an author or book, or several other filters such as movies, music and history. That means you can find routes that take you through various historical locations in Philadelphia, or find a walking tour through Central Park that highlights famous scenes from literature.”

Maps+ screen | GM photo

“For current owners of compatible vehicles that previously did not have navigation built in, Maps+ brings a connected ecosystem of voice assistants, navigation and apps into a singular experience,” GM reports of its offering that rolls out April 30 for 2018-and-newer vehicles.

“We know customers want an easy and convenient in-vehicle experience that improves over time,” said Santiago Chamorro, GM vice president of Global Connected Services. “We listened to customer feedback and developed a product that works seamlessly with our current infotainment systems and provides a highly personalized experience that will iterate throughout the lifetime of the vehicle.”

GM says the system includes speed-limit alerts and low-fuel recognition and routes drivers to a nearby gas station. It can be used to listen to music or podcasts or to search for points of shops, restaurants, parking, etc.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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