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Innovation

All Your Vehicle’s Information on Your Smartphone

With Volkswagen Connect, drivers can quickly view data on their average speed, fuel level or upcoming service reminders. 

Lena Karnebogen shows the Volkswagen Connect app on her phone, Philipp Eisenhauer the small DataPlug. From back left: Corinna Puchta, Richard van Tatenhove and Joachim Kahrens.

The Volkswagen Connect service was developed in the Digital & New Business Sales division. Under the leadership of Richard van Tatenhove, the team of around 50 employees got the project on the road. “From the development of the product to customer care, everything comes together here at our company,” says van Tatenhove, gushing over his colleagues’ high level of identification with the product. That, coupled with the short distances at the Wolfsburg Mobile Life Campus, where the developers under Matthias Kammerlocher, the IT experts under Christian Birke, and sales staff all sit side by side, has made for short development cycles. The starting shot for the development of the service was fired in the fall of 2015. It went online in May of last year – initially in the Spanish, Irish and UK markets. Germany followed suit a few weeks ago. Volkswagen Connect is currently available in 12 countries and counting. “At the moment, we have 250,000 registered users,” says Philipp Eisenhauer, Head of Marketing for Volkswagen Connect. And even more importantly, “60 percent of them use it daily.”

"At the moment, we have 250,000 registered users"

With the help of a DataPlug, a kind of connector that’s plugged into the diagnostic interface in the vehicle’s footwell, all the most important vehicle data is sent to the user’s cellphone via Bluetooth, provided the user has installed the app. All fuel stops, average speed, coolant temperature and even the parked car’s current location can then be displayed there. There’s also a digital logbook that records all trips with their start, destination, date, time, duration, route and cost per trip.

Volkswagen Connect doesn’t lack in fun, either. Users can compete with other Volkswagen drivers in the “Challenges” section. “You get points for conservative driving,” says Joachim Kahrens. In addition, the app shows Volkswagen retailers nearby and connects them with the user if necessary, for example to arrange an appointment for their next inspection or an upcoming tire change. “After all, we want our customers to stay in touch with our dealerships even after their warranty has expired,” says van Tatenhove.

The DataPlug required for Volkswagen Connect is available at all official Volkswagen dealerships. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is 39.50 euros. Installation takes just a few seconds.

Volkswagen Connect is aimed at customers who don’t have Car-Net in their vehicle but still want to connect their car with their smartphone. The DataPlug works with nearly all Volkswagen models from 2008 onwards – with the exception of the Phaeton and Touareg. “Volkswagen Connect,” says Eisenhauer, “is an uncomplicated starting point in connectivity for our customers.”