ATX Technologies Inc. will offer a service in Mercedes-Benz vehicles that connects drivers with dealerships using voice recognition technology.
The service, which ATX says should be available nationally this fall, is called Tele Aid Dealer Connect. It requires no new hardware.
Customers who own or lease current and previous model-year Mercedes vehicles with Tele Aid telematics systems will be able to subscribe to the service.
The feature will be activated when drivers press the "I" button on the console of most Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
After pressing the button, the driver must say "dealer."
The voice recognition system will alert ATX's call center to route the call to the service center at the driver's dealership. Mercedes maintains records of drivers' preferred dealerships.
If a driver is far from the preferred dealership at the time of the call, he or she may instead ask for an operator and have ATX reroute the call to the closest Mercedes-Benz dealership.
Drivers can use this service to let dealership personnel know if they are running late for a service appointment or if they have a question about their vehicle.
The service will be included in all Mercedes Tele Aid telematics packages.
Those packages range in annual cost from $240 for basic safety and security service, to $315 for premium service, which includes traffic information and route assistance.
ATX, of Dallas, has provided telematics services to Mercedes-Benz since 2000.
Terms of the deal were not announced.
This is the latest example of how telematics providers are linking vehicle owners and dealerships.
This year, dealership technology provider Reynolds and Reynolds Co. debuted its portable CAReader aftermarket telematics device, which also connects drivers with dealerships.
The device, about the size of a cell phone, can alert the dealership that a vehicle's check engine light is on.