The Volkswagen Group announced it was investing in the German digital specialist Diconium by acquiring 49% of the shares in the company.
"With this participation, the group will be securing further know-how and strengthening its digital business capabilities," VW said in a statement, adding the two companies would continue development of VW business models and digital added-value services.
"Diconium will therefore become a key technology partner for the development of new digital services available via the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud," the automaker added.
The transaction is subject to approval by German anti-trust authorities.
Diconium (formerly dmc), with headquarters in Stuttgart, was established in 1995 and specialises in development of digital business models. Its activities include strategy development and the design of the user experience (UX), as well as the implementation of business ideas. The proprietor-managed company has a workforce of about 800 people at locations in Germany, Portugal, the US and India. Its key skills include the development of sales platforms for digital products and services as well as IT systems for customer management.
Through its cloud the VW group plans to offer digital value-added services for vehicles which will then be fully connected. The brand has developed the cloud with Microsoft to link the connected vehicle, cloud-based platform and digital services.
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"We intend to expand our core business sustainably and to offer our customers more and more tailor-made digital value-added services in and around their vehicles," said Christoph Hartung, VW brand head of digital & new business/mobility services.
"We are taking technology partners on board to assist us with development. Together, we will offer customers a wide and convenient range of services that they can use with their mobile devices or in their cars. With Diconium, we have secured the support of a strong technology partner with substantial experience and considerable competence in the development of digital sales solutions."
VW and its new acquisition plan to launch a global online sales platform allowing customers to purchase and manage all the upcoming We services and on-demand functions for connected vehicles. The functions available will include multimedia streaming, automatic payment for fuel, battery charging and parking, and over-the-air software and firmware updates.
VW will also work with Diconium to strengthen its digital business capability and implement items agreed in recently signed dealer contracts. These provide for close cooperation between the manufacturer and dealers in the consistent digitalisation of sales processes and vehicles. VW and Diconium will develop possible projects such as the provision of a software and platform landscape for customer and data management.