Volvo's CEO says dropping Apple CarPlay is a mistake, rejects monetization inside cars

Max McDee, 15 November 2023

Volvo Cars CEO Jim Rowan's shed some light on the company's plans for the future and how it plans to adapt to the rapidly changing landscape. With a background in consumer electronics at companies like BlackBerry and Dyson, Rowan is up to speed with developments and commented on recent move by GM to remove popular features like Apple CarPlay.

Volvo, under Rowan's leadership, is poised for a significant transformation, with a pledge to become fully electric by the end of the decade. This ambition is underpinned by a broader industry shift towards electrification, autonomy, and direct-to-consumer sales. However, unlike many automakers who are focusing on integrating hardware and software to monetize in-car experiences similar to smartphones, Volvo is charting a different course.

Volvo's CEO rejects monetization inside cars, calls GM’s move to drop Apple CarPlay a mistake

Rowan is skeptical of the trend toward monetizing the in-car experience, such as infotainment systems and subscription features. He believes that no carmaker's system can effectively compete with the convenience and familiarity of smartphones. Instead, Volvo is focusing on building recurring revenue outside the car, with services like maintenance and insurance.

This stance is particularly notable in light of GM's recent decision to stop supporting Apple CarPlay. Rowan believes that such a move is a mistake, as it disregards the preferences and habits of consumers who are increasingly reliant on their smartphones for navigation, music, and other functions while driving. He argues that ensuring seamless integration with popular platforms like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is more beneficial for customers, than forcing them to adapt to a different system within their vehicle.

Volvo's CEO rejects monetization inside cars, calls GM’s move to drop Apple CarPlay a mistake

Volvo's commitment to integrating these popular smartphone interfaces while maintaining its own Volvo OS offers users more choice, the CEO argues. This approach also reflects a broader philosophy at Volvo: focusing on customer benefits and making strategic choices about where to invest in technology.

As the industry moves towards autonomous driving, the role of software and connectivity becomes even more crucial. Volvo's first core compute architecture, set to debut in the Volvo EX90, will enable continuous improvement over time through over-the-air updates.

Volvo's CEO rejects monetization inside cars, calls GM’s move to drop Apple CarPlay a mistake

Furthermore, Volvo is exploring innovative ways to offer value-added services. Using data analytics and AI, Volvo plans to offer personalized insurance rates based on actual driving behavior, a significant departure from traditional models based on age or postcode. This focus on utilizing technology to enhance customer service and offer practical benefits reflects Volvo's commitment to adapting to consumer needs in a digital age.



Reader comments

Volvo is owned by Chinese, so you can expect much higher levels of flexibility and R&D speeds. Still considering BMW, I don't personally like those cars, but man are they still more flexible that VW EV's, where even their latest ID.7 ...

  • Anonymous

Kudos to Volvo. They made the right decision unlike BMW and Audi who chose the path of greed.

  • OO

WHAT! if apple wants an app on volvo fair would be 30% of what the company earns in a year



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