Volvo commits to CarPlay, as rival ditches Apple's in-car system

Dropping it is a mistake, suggests CEO

Volvo XC40 Recharge CarPlay panel
(Image credit: Volvo)

Volvo has no intention in following rival car manufacturer GM in ditching Apple CarPlay in its vehicles. In fact, it revels in offering customers the choice between it, Android Auto and the company's own in-car infotainment system.

General Motors decided to go down the controversial route of ditching both CarPlay and Android Auto earlier this year, believing its customers would prefer a curated, dedicated experience instead. It's a move that hasn't always proved welcome, and one that Volvo is keen to avoid.

The car maker's boss, Jim Rowan, formerly of BlackBerry and Dyson, explained to The Verge that Apple's CarPlay and Android Auto are still very much in Volvo's plans.

"We... want to offer the choice of Android Auto or Apple CarPlay so that they can then offer all the plethora of choices that they’ve got, whether that’s the different apps that you can download into the car itself that sits on that centre stack or just the convenience of having your iPhone or your Android machine connect directly and seamlessly with the car," he said.

Rowan also suggested that it would be a misstep to ignore the "7 billion people on the planet that have an iPhone or Android [device]".

"I don’t really get off on the fact that I want a customer to say, 'Hey, Volvo', [or] if they say, 'Hey, Google' or 'Hey, Siri.'"

Certainly this means that Apple CarPlay is here to stay, when it comes to Volvo at least. The latest Volvo XC90 Recharge includes it, as will the new electric SUV, the Volvo EX30.

It wouldn't be a surprise if the recently-announced Volvo EM90 luxury people carrier also sported CarPlay and Android Auto, although that's destined for China (at least initially).

It also seems that none of the forthcoming electric vehicles from the brand will charge subscription fees for extra features.

"I don’t buy it, quite frankly," added Rowan. "Because I update my iPhone the whole time, I would be pretty peeved if every time... they gave me a bill."

Rik Henderson
News Editor

Rik is T3’s news editor, which means he looks after the news team and the up-to-the-minute coverage of all the hottest gadgets and products you’ll definitely want to read about. And, with more than 35 years of experience in tech and entertainment journalism, including editing and writing for numerous websites, magazines, and newspapers, he’s always got an eye on the next big thing.

Rik also has extensive knowledge of AV, TV streaming and smart home kit, plus just about everything to do with games since the late 80s. Prior to T3, he spent 13 years at Pocket-lint heading up its news team, and was a TV producer and presenter on such shows as Channel 4's GamesMaster, plus Sky's Games World, Game Over, and Virtual World of Sport.