Renault is ready to fight Google and Apple for car market ownership

Renault is fine-tuning its digital strategy to compete with Google and Apple's movements into the car space, the carmaker’s chief digital officer announced at Dreamforce yesterday.

Companies like Google and Apple have “quite loudly” entered the car market, Patrick Pelata, Salesforce’s automotive director and former Nissan IT lead said during a talk at Dreamforce in San Francisco yesterday.

“By doing that, they can be a threat for carmakers - especially Google who has a very aggressive model for advertising”, he warned.

But Renault’s chief digital officer, Patrick Hoffstetter said that the car maker's digital strategy will allow it to fight for its spot as the fourth largest car manufacturer in the world.

Hoffstetter said that big data was playing a large part in the strategy, linking all Renault’s channels to provide the best customer service to attract and retain new customers.

"The key part, as a car maker is that we are at the cornerstone of information to the car the client and the environment.

“We are partnering both with Google and Apple on this, but we think the perfect situation is being at this cornerstone, working on the connecting the dots between information coming from the car, coming from the consumer and making sure that we are providing the right service, the right information at the right time. If you move quickly enough, it’s OK"

Google and Renault are partnered in some ventures including Renault apps that can be bought on Google Play, Google’s app store.

Hoffstetter said: "What is tricky in the digital world, is that your close friend can be your close enemy."

As well as a “digital factory” which was created in 2009, Renault is using a ‘My Renault’ portal, supported by Salesforce, which is a website similar to Facebook, to engage its 2 million customers who have registered a profile online. Hoffstetter said the carmaker will also be relaunching Renault’s website next year.

Jill Royce, director of a Salesforce email campaign company, Studio Orange, urged the automotive industry to move quickly to stay ahead during the panel discussion at Dreamforce.

She said: "Don’t wait...Google doesn't have to eat your lunch... You have the behavioural data of their interaction with the brand, with the car, you have got so much power and so much data you need to take it and harness it; it is that simple.”

Google announced this year that they were planning to bring driverless cars to the road. The search engine giant also facilitates plugin apps for smartphones that drivers can use to connect their cars.

Apple have also launched an app, Apple CarPlay for drivers to use to connect their cars Drivers plug their iPhones in to change entertainment systems and some driving systems with voice recognition. The voice recognition tool also allows drivers to dictate and hear text messages while on the move.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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