Carmakers urged to enhance customer experience throughout vehicle lifetime

Reuters Events Automotive USA 2023 in Detroit

DETROIT (Reuters) - Automakers should develop and deploy vehicles with embedded software systems that make them more easily reconfigured and upgraded to "capture a larger percentage of the customer's lifetime value," investor and author Evangelos Simoudis said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the Reuters Events Automotive USA 2023 conference in Detroit, Simoudis, managing director of Silicon Valley-based Synapse Partners, called artificial intelligence and data "important ingredients in future mobility" as automakers seek to provide a "flagship experience" that imparts a premium feeling to all customers.

"This is the blueprint" for car companies to become "mobility partners with their customers."

In order to create this new software-driven flagship experiences, Simoudis said manufacturers have to "rethink their business and organizational models."

"It's not just about monetization" of customer- and vehicle-generated data, "it's about business model innovation," he said.

Simoudis said former tech executives such as Doug Field at Ford and Mike Abbott at General Motors were recruited to help drive the kind of organizational transformation that could imagine and nurture new business models.

Traditional automakers, he added, "should adopt a culture of experimentation" modeled after tech companies such as Netflix and Google to help shift their corporate cultures from being hardware-centric to customer-centric.

(Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by David Gregorio)