DETROIT - In the last days before the demise of its Wingcast LLC telematics joint venture, Ford Motor Co. rejected two purchase offers from Delphi Corp.
According to sources familiar with the proposed deals, Delphi wanted to buy Wingcast to cement its status as a major supplier of telematics hardware. Martin Inglis, Ford's group vice president of business strategy, rejected both offers in late May.
The failed bid sealed the fate of Wingcast, the San Diego venture launched in 2000, near the peak of the dot-com craze. The company closed June 3.
Wingcast, the brainchild of former Ford CEO Jacques Nasser, originally was expected to provide telematics for 1 million Ford cars and trucks by the end of this year.
In simple terms, automotive telematics involves two-way communication of voice or data to the motorist. Telematics packages can include route guidance, e-mail, emergency roadside assistance and concierge services. Wingcast planned to offer at least some of these features, plus hands-free calling and stolen-vehicle tracking.
After Nasser's firing last October, Wingcast became a cost-cutting target under Ford Chairman Bill Ford's "back to the basics" turnaround plan.
Last week, Ford Motor spokesman David Reuter confirmed that the automaker does not consider telematics to be a core service.
"We plan to provide telematics," Reuter said. "But that does not require us to own a telematics company."