Audi will increase the scope of features available ‘on demand’ in its next-generation cars, including the A4, allowing owners to add functions and features after purchase and on an ad hoc basis.
Technical boss Oliver Hoffmann told Autocar: “With our next generation of electronic architecture, we will bring more offers to ‘function on demand’ and you will see year by year we will bring new functions in the cars.”
This is in response to customer demand, he said, rather than a ploy to generate significantly higher profit margins. “A few years ago, there were ideas to generate more revenue on digitalisation functions than by selling cars,” he said.
At the moment, Audi’s on-demand functionality is only available for its e-tron and e-tron Sportback models, although on-demand upgrades will be available with more models in the future.
Features are limited to an LED Matrix package that automatically switches between dipped and main beam, a light function package that allows for light animations when locking and unlocking a car and a semi-autonomous parking function that can find a parking space and park by itself.
On demand features allow drivers to add functionality themselves, in this case, via the myAudi app. There’s no need to visit a dealer or add any additional hardware.
Audi remains tight-lipped about which features will be available in the future. Hoffman added: “This is a [big] step. I think there is a demand from the customer to bring new functions in the car, and this is a profit pool for us – but we don’t see these revenue pools with this kind of functionality.”
Hoffmann was speaking after BMW said it would stop charging extra to activate hardware-based functions on its cars, following low “customer acceptance”. Despite this, Hoffmann is confident that function on demand will be “quite normal in the future”.