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  • Writer's pictureJesus Grana

About Apps & Chargers (Not for Phones)

Updated: Apr 23



CX Insights - Trend Watch - Automotive Industry (ICYMI October 2023)


ICYMI - Welcome, November! While the strikes that dominated auto headlines are nearing a conclusion, we watched how the industry continued its focus on the “softwaritization” (aka enabling new service offerings) of automobiles. We’re also reporting on other customer-focus improvements, like agreements of charging standards. Let’s dive in!


| RENEWED LOYALTY FROM OEM TO OWNER

These are exciting times for customer experience in the automobile industry as we combine human emotion and digital capabilities into custom, focused experiential programs.


Case in point: Ford is ensuring that seventh-generation Mustang owners will have an immersive, enhanced vehicle experience as the latest Dark Horse, EcoBoost and GT models release. Those who purchase these new models will be eligible to participate in on-track driving courses at Charlotte Motor Speedway, lifestyle events and online portals for fellow Mustang enthusiasts to connect and share their passion – forging loyalty between OEM and consumer.


During October we also noticed continued moves toward software business models for automobiles. As we’ve reported before, this has the potential not only to increase revenue per vehicle but enhance owner and passenger experiences. Just like with Ford above, these actions will only improve and strengthen brand loyalty – if well-executed.


The Wall Street Journal wrote that we’ll likely see autos “become Apple before Apple introduces a car of their own.” Leading automakers are actively exploring how to create their own app stores for their vehicles similarly to how Apple and Google have their own app platforms for iPhones and Androids. By releasing open-source APIs publicly as their computer-based predecessors have, they hope to attract app development talent to make in-house solutions a reality. One can only imagine what will be developed next!


We know that General Motors is wasting no time in making this happen. In fact, they’re one of the OEMs who released open-source APIs last month. Dubbing their vehicle services definition as “uServices,” GM is going all-in on software defined vehicle (SDV) development – joining global alliances focused on open standards for auto-based connected car tech and refining their in-house software platform which will appear in GM vehicles later in the year.


Stellantis isn’t staying out of the fun, either. But instead of releasing open-source and allowing anyone to collaborate, they’ve doubled-down on partnerships with their existing relations like Waymo, Foxconn and Amazon to create their own in-house solutions. The prevailing thought from Stellantis Head of Software Business and Product Management Mamatha Chamarthi – which she shares in this interview – is that through multiple partnerships in this way, consumers will see these as a sign of reliability and security in their brands.


Let’s not forget that as OEMs find the best ways to explore EV software development, bringing in experts with some experience to supercharge these projects is key. One might think, “Wouldn’t the only people with that experience have worked for Tesla?” You’d be right: Volkswagen recently hired Sanjay Lal, former Tesla Engineering Director to help create SDV products for Audi and Volkswagen brands.  


| A COMMON CONNECTION

Charging standards, as alluded to earlier, are top of mind for some OEMs. For example, Hyundai and Genesis brands will be adopting Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) charging connectors for use in their future EVs. The implications are obvious: No one wants to deal with different models having different charging connectors for different cars; Hyundai and Genesis are the latest to adopt NACS standards amongst a growing list of OEMs by Q4 2024.



| MISCELLANEOUS NEWS

Is “race” or “flight” the preferred nomenclature to describe progress to build a flying car model for consumers? Call it what you will, but the Helix, an electrically powered vertical take-off-and-landing (eVTOL) vehicle will hit the market next year! Produced by Pivotal, America’s first microlight aircraft will sell for $190,000 – no pilot’s license necessary, just soaring over non-developed land.

 

For further information on how we got to where we are, I encourage you to check out our previous ICYMI blog posts throughout 2023.

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