To keep up with rivals offering ways to connect cars and other services, Volvo announced on Friday that it has acquired Luxe. Volvo will roll the startup’s pieces into its own ways of making customers’ lives easier.
“Technology is unstoppable and you have to let people get full use of it,” Volvo Cars chief digital officer Atif Rafiq told The Verge. “In this day and age, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be super convenient.”
The Luxe acquisition, he said, gives the automaker the resources to further its ambition of making life easier for Volvo users — such as never having to take the car in for fuel, washing, or servicing it yourself. And the services will be controlled through Volvo-branded apps on smartphones, smartwatches, and a Volvo’s own touchscreen.
Volvo already announced pilot programs to act as a concierge service to its customers. In some cities in Sweden and Switzerland, it partners with local parcel delivery companies to allow customers to have their packages left in the trunk of their Volvo. At last year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, the company announced the Volvo Concierge Services as a test in San Francisco to be a platform for allowing customers to have their cars fueled or washed while parked at home or the office, for example. Rafiq says the company still plans to expand those services to other markets in the short term.
Luxe was known for its valet pickup and drop-off services in cities such as San Francisco, New York, and Chicago, as well as offering car washes and fueling. It ceased door-to-door valet operations in May, with the promise of new services later this year.
Rafiq said Volvo would not use Luxe branding on any of its apps. After joining Volvo in January, he now heads up the automaker’s Silicon Valley outpos,t in addition to maintaining a presence at the automaker’s Gothenburg, Sweden, headquarters. He said getting Luxe’s parts also gets them some crucial talent in California.
“We’re looking to Silicon Valley as another center of gravity for this company,” Rafiq said. “We seem to be a place people want to work because this industry is exciting now and we’re ready to advance.”