The concept of a mid- or late-life facelift could be a thing of the past, with Volvo suggesting software enhancements will make for a more appealing proposition than a design change for consumers.

Speaking to CarExpert at a recent media event, Volvo chief commercial officer and deputy CEO Bjorn Annwall said the game is changing when it comes to the value a consumer places on changes within their vehicle.

“It’s going to change a bit. I think ‘brainlifts’ are going to be more important than facelifts. Get the right core compute and the right kind of intelligence of the car,” Mr Annwall said.

“That’s going to be more important. That said, we’re still humans and you still have a different shirt now than three years ago…” he said.

He went on to suggest Volvo will look at charging subscriptions for certain software features, a practice becoming more common among brands such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Those subscriptions will only happen in instances where these software features actually add value to a driver’s life, as opposed to charging for a feature that should already be standard on a premium vehicle though.

“The model of having a car will change. I think more of the consumer benefit will sit in the software rather than hardware. And then what’s the monetisation model of that?

“And our firm view is that you were not going to skin our customers $1 for a small feature,” he said.

“I mean if you buy a premium car you should be able to have great functionality and that should be upgraded over the time. If there is something we should then ask for more subscriptions fee for, then it has to be a step change function,” he said.

“For instance, a full AD [autonomous driving] function would be an example where I think customers would accept [subscriptions].”

Paul Maric

Paul Maric is an Australian car expert based in Melbourne, Australia. Paul is a founder of CarExpert.com.au & formerly part of the CarAdvice founding team.

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