Audi Digs In On In-Car Subscriptions While Others Falter
In an interview with Autocar this month, Audi board member and CTO Oliver Hoffmann said that more “function on demand” features will be coming to Audi models over the next few years. In other words, Audi is leaning into subscription models while others, like BMW, are bowing out after customer backlash.
“With our next generation of electronic architecture, we will bring more offers to ‘function on demand’ and you will see year by year we will bring new functions in the cars,” Hoffmann told Autocar. The CTO says the move is actually in response to increased customer demand, and not as part of a pursuit of higher margins. In fairness to Hoffmann, some customers are willing to pay for subscriptions- Autoguide covered a survey that found 89% of customers are willing to pay for upgraded safety and driver assist features like high beam assist and driving video recording.
Features like these are exactly what Hoffmann says the brand is focusing on with its new push for “function on demand” features. Right now, Audi offers an LED Matrix package that switches automatically between lighting functions depending on conditions, a semi-autonomous parking assist function, and a lighting package that adds some fun animations when locking and unlocking the car. Audi customers will be able to add functionality themselves via the myAudi app without a visit to the dealer.
“This is a [big] step. I think there is a demand from the customer to bring new functions in the car, and this is a profit pool for us – but we don’t see these revenue pools with this kind of functionality,” says Hoffmann. What other functionality Audi has planned isn’t clear right now, but it’ll likely be in the same vein as the above, rather than hardware-based features like heated seats.
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Chase is an automotive journalist with years of experience in the industry. He writes for outlets like Edmunds and AutoGuide, among many others. When not writing, Chase is in front of the camera over at The Overrun, his YouTube channel run alongside his friend and co-host Jobe Teehan. If he's not writing reviews of the latest in cars or producing industry coverage, Chase is at home in the driver's seat of his own (usually German) sports cars.
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