Why Volvo’s CEO thinks making money off data is ‘wrong approach’

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Hakan Samuelsson: "Whatever you have in the phone, you would want to be perfectly in the car." Photo credit: BLOOMBERG

Volvo Cars has this year taken the unique route to show how technical it is at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

There are no cars on display at the car manufacturer's stand – only multi-colored banks and cardboard boxes show the cooperation with Google and Amazon.

But when it comes to the future of the automotive industry, CEO Hakan Samuelsson sounds relatively old-fashioned. He bets that Volvo will earn more money by selling coupled, autonomous cars to consumers and robo-taxi fleets, instead of participating in the higher margin activities of selling data-driven services in the vehicle.

"Whatever you have in the phone, you would want to be very seamless in the car, and we will make money by making an attractive car and selling more cars, instead of trying to get a fee for the information and communication, "he said in a Bloomberg Television interview. "That would be the wrong approach."

Most car manufacturers have been trying to keep Google and Apple at bay, hoping to keep control over valuable data such as a driver's whereabouts, driving patterns, store preferences, and infotainment. The companies have also tried to forge their own commercial partnerships to sell connected services instead of having to pay technical players like Google in cash.

Volvo was one of the first to agree to use Google's Android operating system, leaving Alphabet's software control mapping, navigation, infotainment and a range of apps in the dashboard. Most car manufacturers only allow Android Auto and Apple & # 39; s CarPlay, which project a limited number of apps on the vehicle's touchscreen after a passenger has connected a smartphone.

The Polish brand Polestar, the brand of the automaker, has also signed up to use the Android operating system, Samuelsson said.