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Nokia helps Volkswagen make phone-friendly car

Customers will be able to activate their GSM phones via the steering wheel of new Passats.

New models of the Volkswagen Passat will come fitted with a handset integration system from Nokia that's compatible with GSM phones, the phone maker said Friday.

The system features Bluetooth technology, which will allow subscribers to access the SIM card of a mobile phone in one of three ways: via an external alphanumerical keyboard, steering wheel controls or voice dial. When users get out of the car, they can deactivate the system's receiving mode by pressing a button on the phone, causing the phone to log back on to the mobile network, Nokia said.

The system is compatible with several handsets, including models from other manufacturers, Nokia said. Customers also have the option of getting a phone holder for the car that doubles as a charger.

"For the first time, an automaker is offering a communication solution using the Bluetooth SIM Access Profile that is factory-fitted in the vehicle," Marcus Stahl, general manager at Nokia Automotive, said in a statement.

The system will be available in new Passats this summer.