Volkswagen Group Bringing TikTok, Spotify, and More to Cars

Image: Volkswagen

Volkswagen Group today announced a new app store that will start rolling out soon to its expansive portfolio of cars across the Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, and Porsche brands (via The Verge).

According to the German automaker, this in-car app store will feature apps designed specifically to be used on a car’s infotainment system screen.

Volkswagen’s app store will already have car-optimized apps for TikTok, Spotify, Yelp, and more at launch. The platform will span a wide range of categories, including music and podcasting, video conferencing, parking, EV charging, weather, news, gaming, smart home integration, and more. What’s more, Volkswagen is also in talks to add native Google Maps integration to the system.

Volkswagen has said its new app store will launch in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, and Europe with much of its sub-brand Audi’s 2023 lineup starting this summer.

“It’s a new level of digital experiences we want to show,” said Dirk Hilgenberg, CEO of Volkswagen Group’s in-house software arm, Cariad. As far as third-party app companies go, he said, “We can combine and leverage with each other creating an immersive experience, especially as far as gaming, relaxing is concerned.”

Models that will be among the first to ship with the new app store onboard include Audi’s A4 / A5, Q5, A6 / A7, A8, Q8 e-tron, and e-tron GT. Volkswagen will start rolling out the app store to other Audi models later this year, with more brands and cars to follow after that.

Having an app store full of apps formatted for automotive use could allow Volkswagen to break away from relying on services like Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto.

Volkswagen’s ambitions for in-car functionality run deeper than just an app store, though. The company ultimately aims to offer a comprehensive software experience, complete with its own operating system, right from the infotainment system in its cars.

Volkswagen’s announcement comes after reports from last year indicated that rival Tesla was working on its own app store. Last month, Mercedes-Benz also unveiled a similar initiative, announcing that its new cars, starting with the 2024 E-Class, will come pre-loaded with native apps for TikTok, Zoom, the Vivaldi web browser, and more.

Volkswagen built its new app store under a partnership with Harman, an automotive supplier that was acquired by Samsung Electronics in 2016. Hilgenberg also noted that one of the company’s goals with the app store was to add “in-office functionalities” designed from the ground up to work in a vehicle setting.

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