volvo xc60 interior

Multimedia and other controls in the XC60 and other Volvo models will become more intuitive in the future

DETROIT - Volvo Car Corporation engineers are looking for ways to make their  car IT different from competitors. And they say Apple is a good example of how this can be done.

The developers at the Swedish passenger car maker are taking their cues from a statement made by Stefan Jacoby recently.  The CEO saidhe thought Volvo should look at the simplicity and user-friendliness of devices built by Apple.

All car companies are rapidly improving their car IT, making it more important to stick to brand-specific values.

“We do care about people and that is where we can differentiate,” said Bengt Banck, senior vice president for quality and customer satisfaction.  Added Paul Welander, head of product development:  “We like to take a human-centric perspective; we’re a human-centric brand so we need to focus on the human interaction.” Both executives spoke to automotiveIT at the Detroit auto show here.

Banck said that, in the area of in-car infotainment, car companies face two challenges. “On the one hand, you need to give the customers what they have at home,” he said. “But at the same time the challenge is to say no to something and tell the customer that this is what we will have.”

Both executives said that in-car IT has become a much more important issue in the development of the next model generations. It’s probably not yet a decisive factor in customers’ buying decision, but it’s “very important and people want things to be convenient,” Welander said.

Volvo, like many other car brands, is adopting a more modular approach to its infotainment systems, decoupling them, to some extent, from the rest of the car. This will happen with new models in a couple of years and will mean infotainment can keep pace with the quicker changes taking place in the consumer entertainment industry.

Said Welander: “It cannot be that if you change the engine software you have to retune the climate system.”