Dealer Connections Must Come First for Peugeot Connect Apps, Renault R-Link

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Dealer Connections Must Come First for Peugeot Connect Apps, Renault R-Link
France’s two big car makers, PSA and Renault, have embarked on the connected car journey with the launch, this year, of Connect Apps and R-Link, respectively. To get a sense of the challenge facing these car makers as they take on this new telematics voyage, we visited a couple of Paris-area dealers to take the temperature of dealer adoption of these new systems.

Unfortunately R-Link had not yet shipped to dealers at the time of our visit. But the program details are already included in the vehicle ordering database and the salesperson we visited was familiar with the offering.

For Peugeot the challenge may be even greater, even though Peugeot’s Connect Apps USB dongle has already been introduced (€345 for the first year, €109 thereafter). The Peugeot dealer we visited offered a Web-based demonstration of the capabilities of the service since he did not have a device physically available to show.

According to the dealer, PSA was requiring that he purchase the device himself. He had so far chosen not to make this purchase. This dealer’s decision reflects the lack of organic demand for a device which costs the customer extra at purchase and will require an annual subscription.

PSA’s Connect Apps offers applications that are not already in wide use or, if they are, they are already available on the customer’s smartphone for free, in most cases. A further marketing challenge for Connect Apps is the fact that it is not supported by a advertising campaign.

An offering like Connect Apps can only be successful if it is supported by a national advertising campaign and offers applications that are already in wide use – but offers them at no additional charge. In other words, the Connect Apps is only seen as a value add to the customer if it enables safe access to apps in the car in a more convenient manner than they can already be used via a connected phone.

The lack of a demonstration Connect Apps unit at the Peugeot dealer was a disappointment and it somewhat overshadowed the fact that the existing infotainment system was already clever without the enhancement of Connect Apps – enabling access to a wide array of on-board and off-board content via USB and Bluetooth connections. Perhaps Peugeot is preparing a marketing program in support of Connect Apps. We strongly recommend the implementation of a compulsory dealer adoption program if Peugeot is committed to the Connect Apps program.


Tuesday, March 26th 2013
Roger Lanctot, Strategy Analytics with GPS Business News

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