Volkswagen CEO says fixes for infotainment and touch control issues are coming

The new Volkswagen brand boss has already signed the death warrant for his controversial steering switchgear, and now he’s addressing a few other technical grievances.

Thomas Schäfer, who became the brand’s CEO in July, says he is working to solve problems with Volkswagen’s infotainment systems and touch-capacitive switching devices.

“In this rush to develop these vehicles to get off the grid quickly, the team had several ideas,” he told CAR.

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delivered Recognition: car expert

“We know what we have to do. We have feedback from customers, we have feedback from clinics and from journalists… They say, “You know this is not good. You have to improve that.”

The touch slider for climate control on models like the Volkswagen Golf and the ID.4, which amazingly has no lighting, will be fixed in a timely manner.

“One of the criticisms was that the slider functions weren’t backlit, so you didn’t know they were there at night. That’s fixed now and coming next year. They will all be illuminated,” said Mr. Schäfer

He acknowledged that mistakes had been made with the company’s infotainment systems, with the latest generation MIB3 system being criticized for lag, bugs and usability issues.

delivered Recognition: car expert

Software updates will be rolled out later this year, hardware upgrades are scheduled to be installed within the next 18 months.

“The new 3.0 software is coming now… The hardware changes will start coming through in early 2024. [Revised] Starting next year, the new Tiguan will be starting with steering wheels,” said Schäfer.

He promised the new systems will be faster, offer more features, and have more frequent over-the-air updates.

Mr Schaefer revealed the issues with the brand’s infotainment were so bad that the board has met monthly to monitor progress.

Volkswagen ID.4 Recognition: car expert
VW Golf Recognition: car expert

“That [technical] Team puts models together and we sit down and try them out. We can say, ‘This doesn’t really work. Who the hell did this? Next!’ If you don’t do that, you can make the wrong decisions,” said Schäfer.

The company runs regular clinics with random people not affiliated with Volkswagen to see how people find features

“First of all, they have to have clear guidelines and a clear logic behind them. And once the team reaches those limits, you can speed up the process and not keep trying to reinvent the wheel and put the hazard switch in the middle, then on top, then somewhere else… It’s actually quite simple,” he said.

“If you listen carefully, you will find out what you should and shouldn’t do.

Volkswagen ID.3 Recognition: car expert

“We say, ‘What are the top 10 features customers always need?’ We placed them in hard buttons on the first layer. Then where do we place them in the next 20 features? We put some logic into it. And then it fucking stays that way. don’t change it!”

He acknowledged that the brand has created confusion in its vehicles in recent years, moving essential switchgear and being inconsistent across models.

Volkswagen is not the only brand to say goodbye to touch-capacitive switching devices.

General Motors and Ford embraced touch-capacitive switching devices in the early/mid-2010s, but began phasing them out after criticism from owners.

Ford’s Lincoln luxury brand began introducing touch-capacitive controls for functions like climate control in 2011, but announced in 2013 that it would be returning to buttons for those functions. Volkswagen CEO says fixes for infotainment and touch control issues are coming

James Brien

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