GPS Business News: How is the navigation business doing in Europe these days, especially the PND market which seems to be in turmoil?
Serge Bussat: we came back from IFA less negative than we were coming. There is a good stream of business and it seems we are going to do a good Fourth Quarter. However, retailers are very shy; they are a bit scared by the navigation market right now. Our growth forecast for the market in EMEA (Europe Middle-East and Africa) was 30 percent for the year 2008; it seems the market will finally do 25 to 30 percent which is not bad.
GPS BN: Individually, what are the most difficult markets across Europe?
SB: Germany is probably the most difficult market because of the number of players. There is a very aggressive competition. Great Britain is also difficult because it is a very price oriented market. France and Italy are easier countries in comparison.
GPS BN: And what about Eastern Europe?
SB: Today we have good coverage in five countries: Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia. We are seeing some growth there. We are also putting a lot of efforts on mapping the Russian market. We will come up with a new release of our Russian map data in October. We will offer what we expect to be the best product for the biggest cities in the country. We believe this is the market which is going to show the biggest growth.
SB: There are three reasons why PNDs will be big in Russia. The first one is the growth of the country pushed by the increasing price of petrol. The second one is that the Russian auto market is now bigger than Germany and the third is that Russians like technology: they enjoy gadgets and playing with new technologies.
It is also a very open market for us: there are many local map providers but very often with little quality.
GPS BN: And what about the wireless market now?
SB: OK, but first let’s segment this market in three categories: there are the handset manufacturers, the application providers and the wireless operators. In Europe we have a very good position with handset manufacturers. This is not only with Nokia which owns NAVTEQ today, but also with others. My pitch to them is that thanks to Nokia we are going to develop the right content and coverage for the wireless market. Nokia’s ownership of NAVTEQ is much more a guarantee than a threat for wireless players.