Audi prepares digital push

February 08, 2016 // By C. Hammerschmidt
Within five years, carmaker Audi plans to realise about 50 percent of its sales with products around digital services and electromobility, reports German online magazine Bilanz. Towards this end, the VW subsidiary is preparing to offer innovative services.

Referring to information from the Audi business, community, the magazine reports that Audi CEO Rupert Stadler plans to detail its strategy by summer. According to the report, the carmaker’s top management regards the digitisation of the car as a business field that is critical for gaining a competitive advantage. Therefore the company plans to achieve by the year 2020 about 50 percent of its sales with information technology, software and software-based services for automobility. In 2014, the carmaker achieved overall sales of €54 billion (about $ 60.4 billion).

An important pillar for this strategy will be aftermarket software updates over-the-air. For instance, Audi customers will be able to buy new user interface designs for cockpit instruments at an Audi online shop. In addition, the carmaker plans to introduce innovative services related to mobility. For instance, customers parking at an airport could have their vehicle serviced and repaired while they are travelling. This requires the introduction of a “virtual” car key that can be distributed and administered via smartphone. In the case of the abovementioned service, the user would send his virtual key to the garage which then can access the vehicle, perform the service works and return it to the airport car park.

For the development and introduction of such services the company strives for cooperations with third parties. “We don’t need to invent all these things by ourselves”, the magazines quotes an unnamed Audi top manager. Nevertheless, the carmaker puts high priority in keeping the customer interface under its own control and is working on its own operation system, dubbed “My Audi”.

In the run-up to the strategy process, the Audi team has carefully analysed the decline of once large global enterprises like Nokia, Kodak and Sony. The conventional automotive industry in Germany (and perhaps likewise in other parts of the world) sees a threat to their business model emerging from innovative digital players like Google and Apple.