How much development is shared with other Volkswagen Group brands?
We are always looking for synergies in terms of investment, development, product and so on. But on the other hand we target different customers and because ours are young, I think we are more focused on connectivity than the other brands. We were the first brand [within the VW group] to launch complete smartphone integration and the new Seat Ateca is the first model within the group launching a wireless charger in this segment.
What is your position on data ownership and privacy?
For Seat this is a very clear issue. Data belongs to our customers. They decide if they want to forward it to third parties. We are not collecting any data.
How key is the Internet of Things to connected cars?
It's very important because this is not just about connecting a car to a single device. It’s about having all-round connectivity. We want the car to be part of people's personalized ecosystems so that when they get into their car everything has been personalized to their wishes. Without doing anything at all, the car recognizes you and offers you your music and your other things.
How far away is this from happening?
From the car perspective I think we are almost there. I mean one out of three people driving a Seat is already connected with the Full Link technology and the numbers are growing every month. We expect to have all our cars connected in the next year. However, a big investment is still needed from the infrastructure side and that will take a bit longer. Barcelona is one of the smartest cities in the world and we are working very closely with [the local government] to connect our cars to the city. For example we have a pilot program where we have connected our cars to on-street parking and drivers can see online where there is free space and drive directly to it. This has big benefits not only for the customer but also for the city as we know that 30 percent of the traffic in the center of Barcelona is people looking for a parking slot.
How do you view Apple and Google's entry into the automotive sector?
It's like taking a crystal ball and looking into the future, but if someone is going to cause disruption they are the ones that can do it. I'm very positive about that. They are making us think about our processes and our developments and how we make decisions. So in a way they are making us stronger. I believe this is a challenge but also an opportunity.
Are you already positioning Seat to offer 5G capability?
Yes we are working with some big communications and telecommunications companies to develop this together. It will optimize the way things are connected -- for instance the way that cars communicate with each other. In the car-to-car future it's going to be a step forward. How soon it will happen depends on different markets, but we are not very far away. We are talking about years and not many.
What's your definition of a connected car?
One that is connected to your own personal ecosystem and also allows us to access the whole digital world in order to offer new functionalities to our customers.