Audi embarks on digital software development

'We have to make more than hardware,' says Audi Canada president

TORONTO -- Connectivity and other aspects of “digitalization” will increasingly require more software development, an area Audi won’t leave to others, said Audi Canada President Daniel Weissland

Many digitized solutions create customer pay revenue streams, he said.

“If we don’t prepare for it, others will take over. We don’t want to give our business away,” he said in address to the first Automotive News Canada Congress at the 2017 Canadian International AutoShow, which runs Feb. 17-26 in Toronto.

“We have to make more than hardware,” said Weissland.

To that end, Audi will tackle three major challenges: digitalization, sustainability and urbanization. All will require new business approaches, and lots of connectivity.

Through MyAudi, the company’s digital eco system, the connectivity loop will eventually be closed with Audi vehicles, customers and dealerships making many things possible, like automatically scheduled service appointments, derived through matching vehicle requirements, customer’s schedules, and available service department openings.

Within four to five years, Weissland said, all Audi models will come ready to play, with MyAudi.

Weissland said one possible revenue stream could be the selling of options and features to customers throughout the lifecycle of their vehicle. Connectively could allow Audi to periodically update vehicles, for a fee, with more power, features and infotainment.

Sustainability goals will see Audi pursue electric propulsion, under the “e-tron” banner, which it hopes will eventually become as recognizable and synonymous with Audi as its “quattro” all-wheel drive is today.

Audi will also address mobility and urbanization challenges – as others will – through shared and autonomous vehicle programs. If fact, he noted that the “connected mobility part of urbanization” will eventually become the “fourth business field” for Audi, after the traditional fields of new, used, and service.

Eventually the traditional threesome core will comprise only about 80 per cent of the automaker’s overall business, with 20 per cent coming from the new areas.

You can reach Michael Goetz at mikegoetz@rogers.com

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