Honda’s new connected car system will let retailers offer discounts to drivers and passengers

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Honda is demoing a line of connected cars that will let drivers and passengers gather discounts from retailers as they drive around.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday, the car company showed a prototype of its Honda Dream Drive program, a dashboard that rewards drivers and passengers for using the connected capabilities of the cars. The program will roll out as a beta this year.

With Honda Dream Drive for Drivers, drivers can earn points for using the connected dashboard to navigate to their next destination, pay for gas, order food or purchase things like movie tickets. Passengers also get points for listening to the radio or playing games through a Honda app.

These points can then be redeemed for discounts or free items at retailers. John Moon, managing director of strategic partnerships at Honda, said the company is currently in talks with retailers for the program. 

The idea is to open a new revenue stream for Honda, which will let retailers and content providers get access to Honda’s customer base. Retailers can target Honda customers with promotions and offer them points.

When they first use the program, drivers and passengers opt-in to Honda sharing their data to its partner retailers.

“We want to provide a better window into how to serve our customer through that data,” said Moon, who would not discuss the specific data that would be shared. “It’s something retailers don’t get the see — that ‘last mile’ to their retail destination. The majority of commerce is done through physical retail locations, and because we’re able to tie that to transactions, we’re able to provide some rich information.”

Honda hopes the program will offer more value to its customers and help the company strengthen relationships with retailers and content providers.

As of Tuesday, Honda is working with Entercom’s, The Lego Group, AAA, DC, Silvergate Media and Univision Music to create entertainment for its passenger dashboard. In a location-based game with Lego, users gather Lego pieces to build buildings and earn points in doing so. The AAA app shows where members can go to get their discounts and users will earn points by looking at different retailers. Honda is also working with application service company Connected Travel to have drivers redeem points at retailers the company is currently in talks with. is one of the first partners for Honda’s Dream Drive rewards program on the passenger side. When passengers listen to music through the app on the passenger tablet, they will be able to earn points towards discounts. JD Crowley, chief digital officer of Entercom Communications, parent company of, said the partnership accomplishes three things for the content provider: it promotes the brand, deepens its relationship with Honda and offers even more exposure for’s own advertisers. Crowley said the company might eventually add its own rewards into the system, such as a promotion for VIP tickets to an upcoming concert. “There’s a lot of possibilities for incentives,” said Crowley. 

While gamification is not a new concept, it is one for the connected car space. “It could be a way to steal screen time from users’ existing apps on their own devices,” said Pete Levin, CEO and co-founder of agency Glow. It’s Honda’s latest large partnership-driven program in the connected car space. Last week, Honda partnered with Alibaba to offer online services to drivers in China.

Not all passengers might want to offer up their data for entertainment, though. “While a small audience might go ‘all in,’ the majority of people might find it a chore,” said Chuck Fletcher, CTO at ad agency Barbarian.

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