Volvo a small spade at Tesla, BMW and Mercedes on a subject that has created controversy

While BMW and Mercedes had angered some drivers by paying for a few previously free options, Volvo said it did not want to play this little game. A proper tackle 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 produce access to possible new functionalities.

It is indeed possible tobuy an option retrospectively that we had not chosen when ordering the car, for example. And brands quickly sensed the financial potential of this new feature.

A growing trend

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

This is particularly the case for BMW, which even offers monthly subscriptions to be able to take advantage of certain options. An à la carte program, which 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 take advantage of 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 find that abusive? Note that in the United States, 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 annoy some customers, who then have the impression of being taken for cash cows.

Fortunately, some manufacturers refuse this kind of practice, and intend to make it known. This is precisely the case with Volvo, which has also been offering OTA updates since April but who refuses to charge his customers for small, simple improvements. And the brand does not hesitate to tackle its competitors on this thorny and controversial subject.

Against a current

Asked by BloombergBjörn Annwall, COO of Volvo said that ” we will not ask people who bought a car for 1 million crowns (about 90,100 euros) to pay an additional 10 crowns to get extra heat in the seat“. For him, the update must be substantial enough to be in a position to request an additional sum from customers. In the teeth, the German brands!

Nevertheless, the Scandinavian manufacturer is not totally opposed to 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, which represents an important advantage for the customer. But there is no question of making small improvements, such as those which have been degraded to the autonomy of the XC40 and C40 Recharge.

Volvo C40 // Source: Frandroid

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

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