Volvo is creating a service ecosystem around its cars, giving its customers access to third-party service providers to remotely fuel up, get a car wash, service the car, and more. It’s called Volvo Concierge Services, and it’s a digital platform that aims to make owning a Volvo easier and more convenient.
The heart of the system is the digital key, a one-time-use location- and time-specific key that allows service providers access to the vehicle. This is a big advantage as it keeps the car secure and keeps owners from needing to meet someone and hand off the key when the car is getting serviced. The supplier, whether that’s a refueling company or a valet parking attendant or Volvo itself (for oil changes and other maintenance), uses an app that remotely unlocks the car and allows the engine to turn on.
“It’s all about convenience. It’s all under the heading ‘make life less complicated.’ That’s our mission,” said Volvo Cars USA CEO Lex Kerssemakers in an interview with The Verge. “We won’t talk about the business model yet, we’ll talk about that later. But does it work? We’ll see.”
It starts with a pilot program in the Bay Area with 300 owners of new Volvo XC90 SUVs and S90 sedans. Expansion will come later, as the program proves itself. Volvo’s customers “all have their phones and they all know how to work with their phones,” said Kerssemakers. “This is just the start.”
All of these service providers already exist — we wrote about Filld 18 months ago — but the ease of onboarding customers is a big advantage here, too. Drivers only need to set up the Volvo app rather than needing to download separate apps for fueling, car wash, and valet parking companies. Volvo handles all the billing and payments to vendors, while the customer gets a streamlined experience.
With fully autonomous cars that can park themselves still at least a decade away, the Concierge Service is all about using existing technology to make life easier for Volvo’s owner. The pilot program will begin immediately in the Bay Area.