Currently reading: VW targets Google Maps users for new sat-nav
Integration of maps with battery management system could provide edge over third-party apps

Volkswagen wants its new infotainment system to be more attractive to use on the move than popular third-party apps like Google Maps and Waze.

Axel Heinrich, Volkswagen’s head of innovation and systems architecture, said the popularity of smartphone-mirroring functions like these show there is “a little bit lacking in our performance and navigation”.

He said: “Our maps and traffic are not the best, like Google.”

But, he highlighted, if drivers choose to use a non-VW navigation interface, they miss out on VW’s integrated battery management system, which recommends charging times and locations. “It’s a trade-off you have to make when multi-stop routing,” said Heinrich.

Asked if VW is pushing to encourage drivers to use its own app, he said: “Yes, but we are not dreaming.”

One potential way of boosting usership is by exchanging data with third parties like Google. This could mean VW’s in-house mapping platform has improved functionality, while Google’s is able to monitor in-car metrics, such as state of charge.

Heinrich suggested the new European data act could allow customers the choice to share data about their vehicle with third-party apps and Volkswagen is discussing what opportunities this presents.

Volkswagen's renewed focus on software and interior useability comes after harsh criticism of the Mk8 Golf and the Volkswagen ID 3 from buyers and the wider media. Indeed, VW brand boss Thomas Schäfer admitted in June 2023 that those cars' unconventional interiors "definitely did a lot of damage" to its standing among loyal customers.

Among the changes being made across the firm's cars are the return of physical buttons to its steering wheels and the reorganisation of the infotainment software to prioritise critical functions.


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Felix Page

Felix Page
Title: Deputy editor

Felix is Autocar's deputy editor, responsible for leading the brand's agenda-shaping coverage across all facets of the global automotive industry - both in print and online.

He has interviewed the most powerful and widely respected people in motoring, covered the reveals and launches of today's most important cars, and broken some of the biggest automotive stories of the last few years. 

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mrking 6 February 2024

yes I agree, they've absolutely fumbled the move to EV. This is the latest in a long line of missteps, is there a chance of ditching google maps once you've had the pleasure of android auto (probably apple as well), a decent phone and google maps in combo. Nope.

I'm right in their target demographic, being a very happy California owner but I'm a mile off getting interested in their next generation of EV's, although having said all that, I'll cast an eye once the id.7 estate comes out although a year's a long time in EV cars at the moment.

Torq 6 February 2024

Are we witnessing the beginning of the end for VW? This is coming from a VW fan, they have made such an appauling mess of their EV products and strategy, the customer base will simply move to better competitors.