Lexus Moves to Free Traffic, Weather Updates

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The weather and traffic updates that are delivered to cars are two of the most useful features for commuters. But nearly all versions of the technology offered in cars today require a subscription of some kind with an additional monthly fee. Lexus will start to make these features free.

The automaker announced that it will become the first in the industry to provide subscription-free, real-time traffic and weather information on its integrated audio systems. It will debut in the redesigned Lexus IS sport sedan that will appear on Tuesday at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

For vehicles equipped with navigation, a new piece of technology will allow digital traffic and weather information to be received from both HD radio stations and cellphone networks using the driver’s smartphone that’s connected to the Lexus Enform system. For vehicles without navigation, the automaker will offer a standard display audio system providing the free information via HD radio stations nationwide.

The new Lexus IS equipped with the free updates arrives at dealerships this summer.

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Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Matt Schmitz is a veteran Chicago journalist indulging his curiosity for all things auto while helping to inform car shoppers. Email Matt Schmitz

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