Many modern new cars offer integrated in-dash GPS receivers, especially in their luxury model ranges. Integrated GPS receivers are very expensive when compared to standalone GPS receivers such as TomTom and Garmin, however it is interesting to note that many of them do not offer speed or red light camera warnings or school zone warnings, such features being common on literally every standalone GPS receiver on the market.
Nevertheless, integrated GPS receivers are very elegant, convenient and put the screen in a prominent position that does not obscure the driver's vision, such as many standalone GPS receivers that are stuck onto windscreens with suction cups. So if you can afford to buy a car with this feature, it's rather nice.
However, there is one very glaring fact that is never pointed out to purchasers of vehicles with integrated GPS, which is the cost of those map updates. Remember that most standalone GPS receivers use mapping data from WhereIs, so the initial maps you get on board a TomTom GPS are included in the price. So if you buy a $150 TomTom GPS, you receive four map updates per year for $100. Other GPS manufacturers offer free lifetime maps.
It seems that the map update software for integrated in-car GPS receivers is a different story. For instance, the cost of the single DVD Australia map upgrade for a Mazda 6 Luxury Sports Hatch is not $30 or even $100. The last time I looked, it was a whopping $295.
Even more outrageous is the cost for Holden integrated GPS map updates. According to information from a motorist and various websites, the price of a map update for a Holden Commodore SV6 is a whopping $600. On the WhereIs website, it states that Holden dealers sell this software, but how the hell can they justify charging this massive fee for virtually the same software that WhereIs provides for a tiny fee to TomTom? Highway robbery and extortion do not even begin to describe this blatant ripoff.
Considering that WhereIs sells the same mapping data to GPS manufacturers for probably less than one-tenth of the price that it sells the same mapping data to car buyers with integrated GPS receivers, I consider this to be a shocking rip-off. The worst thing is that WhereIs knows that it has car purchasers over a barrel, because there is no other source of mapping data that will work with the integrated GPS receivers in those vehicles.
So this is a warning for all motorists when shopping around for a new car. If you are contemplating buying a car with this feature, ask the salesman about the cost of map updates and if possible, strike a deal with the dealer to provide you with free or very cheap map updates for at least the next five or more years or you won't buy the car. It's amazing the deals you can squeeze out of car salesmen when you pile the pressure on, especially when they are desperate to make sales at certain times of year.
It is hard to condemn people for downloading pirated WhereIs map updates for their vehicles and burning their own DVDs or data cards. In fact I am so disgusted with this situation that if any download sites that have such map software are found, the links will be posted on the CARR website as a protest against the great WhereIs ripoff.