Are the automotive OEMs losing control of their own customer experience?

Wouldn’t you love to get in the car and have it tell you that your first meeting is at 9 AM, but based on your driving habits, traffic and weather, you will be late? And then, have it call or text the people in your first meeting and advise them you are running a bit behind?

With connected car technology, most of that is possible today. But it’s not happening, because there is a battle between the technology companies like Apple/Google and the carmakers. And the customer is paying the price.

At Lochbridge, we believe the ecosystem should reward a partnership between tech companies and car companies where the winner is always the customer.

As the car becomes a platform, the dashboard screen is becoming the fourth screen. In new cars, the dashboard screen is big and beautiful, a rich display of information. That display has all kinds of potential for monetization.

After all, Tesla has already proven that the modern car is basically just another node on the network rather than just a mode of transportation. Because it is a tech company, Tesla has already capitalized on the movement to the big screen: it has built a suite of apps that control everything from battery life to navigation to entertainment. By doing this, Tesla completely controls the user experience of its owners, which is the goal of every technology company and is likewise the goal of every automotive OEM.

No OEM wants to give away monetization options to Apple and Google, and give “their customer “ experience away. But how long do you think users, who use AirPlay and Chromecast at home to stream content to their TV, will stand patient for a restricted user experience in the car? Within the bounds of safety, the end user should be able to make the call on what gets projected and what doesn’t.

In the fight for control between Apple, Google, and the OEMs, the customer stands to lose. And that must stop. OEMs should start focusing on the user experience, not just focus on controlling their turf and let the “Bluetooth/tethering battle” with customer’s phone continue.

The OEM should never worry about making money any time someone gets in the car. An OEM who does it right could take a small piece of the action every time a mobile ad is shown to a user. When a customer starts the car and turns on the navigation to go to the store, the appropriate coupons could show up on his/her dashboard, and if those coupons are redeemed in the store the OEM should be compensated.

To compete, OEMs should focus on the data they already control and make it more useful to the driver. They must do it with the speed of the tech companies. The space is large enough for the OEM and tech companies to coexist and partner. So why not let the customer be the winner?

Photo credit: Kaspars Grinvalds / Shutterstock.com

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