Tech to out-torque performance in car sales

Bloomberg reports that Luca de Meo, Audi’s sales chief, claimed carmakers must brace themselves for a fundamental industry shift as new competitors and potential allies come into the market.

He said: “By 2020, 50% of value creation will be based on apps, software, electronic systems and digital services,” and opportunities are “endless”.

In a speech prepared for the Consumer Electronics Show in Shanghai he added: “This will totally change our industry and our offering.”

Audi, the world’s second-largest manufacturer of luxury vehicles, said last week that it’s open to other carmakers joining a group bidding for Nokia Oyj’s HERE digital-map division.

The auto industry has been grappling with how to integrate electronic functions including connectivity and autonomous driving.

Audi’s owner, Volkswagen Group, set up a task force last year to accelerate the incorporation of technology into its cars. In a statement last week it said that its Car-Net system will have apps, including voice recognition, for drivers’ smartphones or tablets operating on Google’s Android Auto software or Apple’s CarPlay.

At the electronics show, Audi is offering a five-mile piloted drive in an Audi A7 from the Shanghai Expo area to the city’s Bund riverside district to showcase the technology. The Ingolstadt-based manufacturer is also presenting new connectivity features developed together with Baidu, and tablet computers from its revamped Q7 sport utility vehicle that customers can operate by gesture.

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