Volvo and General Motors are rolling out in-car deliveries with Amazon across the US, the latest in a wave of partnerships between carmakers and technology groups to sweep the industry.
Customers of Volvo or GM brands Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac, can use Amazon’s Key app to get packages delivered to their vehicles across 37 cities in the US and surrounding areas, the companies announced on Tuesday.
The app allows keyless entry, remote locking and guest access. Although Volvo has launched a similar service in Sweden and Switzerland, the US move is a big expansion of in-car deliveries, which it expects could potentially reach millions of Volvo owners. GM said the service would reach more than 7m customers.
Volvo’s drive comes as the Swedish carmaker looks to increase its portion of the fiercely competitive US premium car market. Volvo, whose US plant in South Carolina opens this year, is trying to increase its presence in a market dominated not only by native luxury players Lincoln, Cadillac and Chrysler but also by German brands BMW, Mercedes and Audi as well as Toyota’s Lexus, Nissan’s Infiniti and Jaguar Land Rover. Hyundai has also entered the segment with its Genesis brand.
The move is the latest sign of partnerships in the industry as carmakers explore business streams from connected vehicles. Ford is holding trials for an autonomous pizza delivery service in Miami with Domino’s and plans to open up its network of autonomous cars to small businesses to act as a courier service, while Toyota has a partnership with Pizza Hut and Amazon to develop new services for an autonomous vehicle.
The Amazon service will allow the car to be remotely unlocked during a specific period of time, and the owner will be sent a message when it is closed again. Volvo is also in talks with Amazon to launch several other offerings, such as returning unwanted items from the boot of a car, but said it is not currently discussing selling cars directly to consumers over the website.
Recommended Special Report Artificial intelligence and robotics Delivery robots hit the streets, but some cities opt out Volvo says in-car deliveries are often more convenient than having a package left outside your home or delivered to your office. “We hope this will impact people’s decision of which car to buy,” said Atif Rafiq, chief digital officer at Volvo Cars. Volvo has already explored several options for using connected cars to offer new services, such as allowing owners of the new XC40 sport utility vehicle to loan their car to friends without needing to transfer the physical key.
Last year Volvo also struck a deal to sell up to 24,000 cars to Uber for use in its self-driving fleet, the first sizeable hardware-only deal between a car manufacturer and a ride-hailing network operator. Other deals have followed suit, with Jaguar Land Rover agreeing to sell 20,000 electric I-Pace vehicles to Waymo, the self-driving business unit owned by Google parent Alphabet.