MUNICH (Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen Group and Mercedes-Benz called on fellow automakers to establish separate platforms for data on vehicle use to avoid handing over sensitive customer information to Google.
"We seek connection to Google's data systems but we still want to be the masters of our own cars," VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn said Thursday at an industry conference here. "Potential conflict arises around making data available."
With consumers increasingly expecting seamless connectivity, automakers are making more Internet services available in their vehicles as well as outfitting cars with systems that allow them to communicate with one another.
Google as well as Apple see in-car systems as an opportunity to expand, offering systems such as Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto to connect with people while they're driving.
"It's very good" that automakers are discussing their own systems for processing and storing car data to avoid becoming dependent on "third parties," Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler, said, speaking alongside Winterkorn in a discussion at the event. "That'll boost our position when working with Google." Google is seeking to move beyond providing an in-car interface and mapping services to automakers. The Internet giant developed an egg-shaped driverless car, indicating it could one day compete head-on with vehicle manufacturers.
Lacking a steering wheel and a brake pedal, Google's car is more like a transport pod. The vision runs counter to traditional auto companies that emphasize the comfort and pleasure of driving.
"Google tries to accompany people throughout their day, to generate data and then use that data for economic gain," said Zetsche. "It's at that point where a conflict with Google seems pre-programmed. That's where we need to negotiate."