Tightly Integrates Music Unit Into Car Audio System

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DETROIT ( -- Following Volkswagen's successful co-promotion of an iPod/vehicle package last year, BMW of North American and Apple Computer yesterday announced a BMW/iPod deal. The automaker will offer an
BMW's integrated system allows the audio, playlist and track shuffling features of an iPod to be operated from a touch-button panel on the steering wheel.
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integrated iPod adapter for select 2002 through 2004 models beginning July 12.

Different from VW
Stan Ng, director of product marketing at Apple, said last year's iPod deal with Volkswagen of America differed because it was merely a summer promotion offering Beetle hard-top buyers an iPod and adapter.

Jim McDowell, vice president of marketing at BMW, in Woodcliff Lake, N.J., said BMW's iPod adapter will be directly hooked into the vehicle's audio system, allowing owners to use the car's controls for the iPod. The personal music device is plugged into a cable connection in the glove box and stored out of the way there. Control features allow the driver to change tracks, playlists or volume from touch buttons installed in the steering wheel.

The iPod adapter for BMWs will cost $149, plus installation costs done at dealerships.

'Lot of car companies'
Mr. Ng pointed out that BMW won't have exclusivity for vehicle-integrated adapters. "I think a lot of car companies are looking at this," he said.

Along with a new Web site,, BMW will use cable TV and national newspapers and magazine advertising to promote the offer. That campaign launches today, the company said.

Publicis Groupe's Fallon, Minneapolis, created the theme -- "Control freaks, rejoice" -- for the campaign, which also includes outdoor ads in five cities and spot radio. Parts of the media buy continues into August. Spending wasn't disclosed.

Mini Coopers included
BMW will offer the iPod adapters on its 3 Series, Z4 roadster, X3 and X5 sport utility vehicles. Mr. McDowell said the marketer hopes to add more of its models, but started with its highest-volume lines. The adapters will be available in late summer for all BMW-owned Mini Cooper models.

Apple has sold more than 3 million iPods since introducing the product in fall 2001. Depending on the model, the suggested retail prices range from $249 to $499.

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