Volkswagen Group agreed to buy a 75.1% stake in WirelessCar, a Volvo Information Technology AB subsidiary that develops “vehicle connectivity” systems. The automaker plans to adopt the connectivity technology to push the VW brand’s "digital ecosystem", in cooperation with other technology partners. VW’s goal, according to its announcement, "full connectivity in future vehicle generations and (to) develop value-added services for customers that they can access via the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud."
"Connectivity" for vehicles refers to various telematics functions that bring together telecommunication, vehicular engineering, and services for sensors, safety technologies, navigation and transportation services, multimedia services, and other capabilities.
Volvo reported the transaction price as SEK 1.1 billion ($120.9 million), with closing in the first half of 2019. The sale remains subject to regulatory approval.
Despite the sale, Volvo Group deputy CEO stated: "This agreement will enable us to fully focus our resources and efforts on connected solutions for commercial vehicles," says Jan Gurander, Deputy CEO of the Volvo Group.
WirelessCar was established in Sweden in 1999 and has been wholly owned by Volvo since 2007. It has a workforce of about 370 IT experts worldwide. In addition to its connectivity technology, and the company develops digital concierge and billing services (e.g., tolls), as well as safety and emergency services (e.g., remote diagnostics, breakdown services.) About 3.5 million vehicles worldwide from various car manufacturers are connected via this platform.
“Our aim is to develop the Volkswagen into a mobility provider with a fully-connected fleet,” stated Christoph Hartung, head of VW Digital & New Business / Mobility Services. “Our customers will be able to use digital value-added services in their cars or on their mobile devices at all times. We are switching up a gear with this development and have gained WirelessCar as the third major partner.”
VW previously partnered with Microsoft to develop the cloud-based platform, and with diconium to design a customizable service platform for digital services.
To these efforts, WirelessCar technology will establish "safe and stable" data exchange between vehicle operating systems and the cloud-based platform, and form a basis for future software architecture in the vehicle (Device Platform.)
“Volkswagen has the most ambitious future strategy for connectivity in the automotive industry,” according to Martin Rosell, CEO of WirelessCar. “This aspiration is the perfect match for our vision to lead the automotive industry into the digital society.”