History is very likely to record the 2014 Geneva motor show 2014 as the moment that Volkswagen Group took the significant step to overhaul the interiors of its bread-and-butter models with touchscreen-based technology.
This seismic step is important because VW’s current dominant position in the European car industry can be traced back to the late-1990s Golf Mk5 and the decision to invest in premium quality interior design to open a quality lead over rivals.
It was a gamble counted at the time in hundreds of millions of dollars of R&D, investment and production tooling that paid off by lifting VW’s models to a position where its models commanded a sales premium.
The opposition scrambled to catch-up, many failing to close the gap on quality, with a resultant loss of profitability. It really was that important to the business bottom line.
Ever since, VW has led the field in the art of assembling interiors from beautifully weighted switches and elegantly designed analogue instruments arranged logically in a design hierarchy driven by the desire to add value and brand lustre in the congested mid-market.
Forget all that for the future, because the VW T-Roc concept at Geneva has an interior built around three digital screens – a 12.3-inch instrument cluster, an eight-inch satnav screen atop the dash and a six-inch lower screen for secondary functions.