Volvo sends a small spade to Tesla, BMW and Mercedes on a topic that creates controversy

While BMW and Mercedes had angered some motorists by allowing some options that had been free until now to pay off, Volvo says it doesn’t want to play this little game. A tackle in good and proper shape and a way for the brand to reassure its customers.

Cars are becoming more and more technological and connected, so much so that some today compare them to real smartphones on wheels. Currently, many manufacturers offer remote OTA updates, such as Tesla, Hyundai or Volkswagen. If these make it possible to improve certain technical aspects such as charging speed or battery lifethey also enable access to new functionalities.

It is actually possiblebuy an option a posteriori which we had not chosen when ordering the car, e.g. And brands quickly sensed the financial potential of this new feature.

An increasing trend

For example, it is possible to buy Autopilot from Tesla several years after receiving your car, for several thousand euros. As a reminder, the option is billed at 3,800 euros, while the fully autonomous driving capability costs 7,500 euros. But the American brand is not the only one offering this type of service. And some go even further.

This is especially the case for BMW, which even offer monthly subscriptions in order to take advantage of certain opportunities. An à la carte program that allows you to enjoy features as long as you pay. You then have to pay 80 euros per year to make your car compatible with Apple CarPlay and pay 20 euros per month to benefit from the heated seats. Enough to guarantee the brand regular income, even after the sale of the car.

Mercedes also saw the potential of this strategy. It offers an update, in China, to improve the turning radius thanks to rear wheel steering on its EQS, for an amount of 700 euros per year. Do you think this is abuse? Note that in the US the manufacturer markets an option charged at 1,200 euros per year to increase the power of the EQS and EQE sedan and SUV. What annoys some customers, who then have the impression of being taken for cash queues.

Fortunately, some manufacturers reject this kind of practice and intend to make it known. This is precisely the case with Volvo, which has also offered OTA updates since April but which refuses to charge its customers for simple small improvements. And the brand does not hesitate to take on its competitors on this difficult and controversial topic.

Against a current

asked by BloombergBjörn Annwall, COO of Volvo, confirmed it we will not asks people who bought a car for 1 million kroner (approx. 90,100 euros) to pay an additional 10 kroner to get extra heat in the seat“. For him, the update must be significant enough to be able to request an additional amount from customers. In the teeth, the German brands!

Nevertheless, the Scandinavian manufacturer is not completely against the idea of ​​charging for certain features. But only if these lead to real changes, such as the arrival of 100% autonomous driving, for example. As Björn Annwall explains, this is a real change that represents an important benefit for the customer. But there’s no question of charging for small improvements, such as those made to the XC40 and C40 Recharge’s autonomy.

Volvo C40 // Source: Frandroid

According to a report by UBS, the market for paid updates in the automotive industry could bring in 700 billion (approx. 659 billion euros) in 2030. This is still much less than the $2 trillion announced a few years earlier.

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