The new boss of volkswagen existing brand signed the death warrant for its controversial steering switchgear, and now he’s addressing a number of other tech complaints.
Thomas Schäfer, who became the brand’s CEO in July, said he was working on solving problems with Volkswagen’s infotainment system and capacitive touch switches.
“In the rush to create these vehicles to quickly push boundaries, etc., the team came up with different ideas,” he said. CAR.
“We know what we need to do. We got feedback from customers, we got feedback from clinics and from journalists… They said, ‘You know this isn’t good. You have to improve this.’”
“One of the criticisms is that the slider functions aren’t illuminated, so you don’t know they’re there at night. That’s fixed now, and it’s coming next year. Mr. Schäfer said
He admits mistakes have been made with the company’s infotainment system, with the latest generation MIB3 system being criticized for lags, bugs and usability issues.
Software updates will roll out early this year, with hardware upgrades to be installed over the next 18 months.
“New 3.0 software coming soon… Hardware changes will be available from early 2024. [Revised] The steering wheel is from next year, the new Tiguan will be the start,” said Mr. Schäfer.
He promises that the new systems will be faster, have more features, and have more frequent over-the-air updates available.
Mr. Schäfer revealed the problems with the brand’s infotainment system were so bad that the board met monthly to monitor progress.
“The [technical] the group gathered the models and we sat down and tried them out. We can say: ‘This doesn’t really work. Who did this? Next!’ If you don’t, you can make the wrong decisions,” said Mr. Schäfer.
The company is doing regular clinics with random people not affiliated with Volkswagen to determine how people find functions
“First of all they have to have clear instructions and clear logic behind it. And then once the team has hit it within these boundaries, you can speed up the process and not always try to reinvent the wheel and put the hazard light switch in the middle, then on top. together and then somewhere else… It’s actually pretty simple,” he said.
“If you listen carefully, you will know what to do and what not to do.
“We said ‘What are the top 10 functions that customers always need?’ We put them on the first level in the hard buttons. Then on the next 20 functions, where do we put them? We put some logic into it. And then keep it as it is. Don’t change it around!
He admits that over the past few years, the brand has created confusion in its vehicles by moving essential switches around and inconsistently between models.
Volkswagen isn’t the only brand to ditch capacitive touch switches.
General Motors and Ford used capacitive touch switchgear in the early/mid 2010s but started phasing it out after receiving much criticism from owners.
Ford’s luxury brand Lincoln started introducing capacitive touch controls for functions like climate control in 2011, but in 2013 the company announced it would return to using buttons for these functions.