TomTom's Top Gear GPS hits the skids

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Derek loves nothing more than punching a remote location into a GPS, queuing up some music and heading out on a long drive, so it's a good thing he's in charge of CNET Australia's Car Tech channel.

Excited about the recent announcement of a Top Gear GPS navigator by TomTom? Well, brakes have been applied to the project, but units already on the market could become collectors' items.

TomTom Top Gear GPS

(Credit: TomTom)

According to a report in The Guardian, BBC policy states that its presenters "must take particular care not to endorse any product or service which could be covered in the programs on which they work". In a nutshell, because GPS navigators are car accessories and Top Gear is a show that reviews cars, there is a conflict of interest and it is potentially unethical for the show to directly profit from its partnership with TomTom.

Before kibosh was thrown on the deal, TomTom reportedly manufactured 54,000 of the limited edition navigators. Each one features the voice of Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson and many units had already made it to store shelves overseas. Because Top Gear can't be allowed to profit from this endeavour, the BBC has agreed to donate any profits from the sale of the devices already in the wild to the Children in Need non-profit organisation.

If you were looking forward to being berated by a 51-year-old man from Oxfordshire during your commute or holiday getaway, there's still hope on the horizon. When the TomTom-Top Gear tie up was initially announced, Australia was earmarked as one of the countries to receive a version of the device and according to a tweet from TomTom USA's Twitter account:

We are still planning to sell the announced TomTom/Top Gear product. The deal was cut for future products, not the one we announced.

Those future products might have included a downloadable Jeremy Clarkson voice pack or Top Gear car icons that would have been made available for regular TomTom devices.

Whether any of the 54,000 units already produced were Aussie models remains to be seen.


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