Toyota Motor Corp., Mitsubishi Corp., IBM Japan Ltd., and three other firms are joining forces to provide electronic account settlement and data transmission services for automobiles in 2004, the companies said, according to the Wall Street Journal. The services will enable drivers to make payments and place orders at such locations as car parks and gas stations by exchanging data via special equipment installed in vehicles. The companies, which also include NTT Data Corp., Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and Denso Corp., plan to set up a joint venture as early as 2003 and begin offering the services in 2004, according to the Journal. They have established a consortium to create a unified standard for the special device installed in vehicles and to provide the services on a trial basis. Already, 27 companies, including credit card firms, department stores, fast-food restaurants, supermarkets, oil distributors and real estate firms have indicated an interest in introducing the services, according to the Journal.