Others are investing just as much.
BMW says it now has 10,000 engineers working in software and IT and has just launched the BMW iX electric SUV with its new OS8 operating system with 5G connectivity.
Daimler plans to hire an additional 1,000 software engineers to work at its new tech center in Sindelfingen, near Stuttgart, while 2,000 more are being recruited globally to work in hubs such as Tel Aviv, Beijing and Bangalore, India.
Stellantis, meanwhile, will outline its plans during its so-called "software day" scheduled for later this autumn, expanding on announcements already made to collaborate with Taiwan's Foxconn on connectivity in a joint venture called Mobile Drive.
The prize for all automakers is a potentially highly profitable combination of data mining and fulfilling customer desires for cars that keep themselves updated with the latest digital technology.
The automotive software market will triple in size over the next 10 years as value added from software-based solutions increases to 252 billion euros in 2030 from 76 billion euros in 2020, consultant Berylls predicts.
The value of software per vehicle will rise to 2,375 euros from 820 euros over the same time frame, with the biggest chunk of that increase coming from ever greater autonomous driving capability, Berylls believes.
"Cars are evolving rapidly from pure hardware to software-on-wheels," Berylls wrote in a report published in September. "Established manufacturers will have to put their foot down to avoid losing the race to Tesla and tech giants such as Google."
The increasing complexity of new cars has thoroughly tested the car companies' software-writing ability. VW, for example, has about 100 million lines of computer code in the current Golf, a 10-fold increase on a car built in 2010.
VW predicts that number will rise to 200 to 300 million lines of code when it launches its Trinity electric sedan in 2026 using the 2.0 version of VW.OS.
VW experienced software problems during the rollout of the 1.1 version of its software in the ID family of electric cars. Owners of the first edition models were initially unable to use some key functions, which are now operational.
The increasing complexity is partly because as technology proliferated, it was divided into domains, with each having its own domain controller.
"This created a lot of duplications across vehicle architectures. As a consequence, a lot of hardware wasn't being used in the best way possible," Michael Wintergerst, head of vehicle and cloud platform at Cariad, told an audience at the recent IAA auto show in Munich.
Computing power can't be shared between domains; therefore, much of the software has to be duplicated.
"All of these duplicates made it very difficult to have a consistent architecture of the entire car environment," Wintergerst added.
The new thinking among VW and other automakers is to design a single platform. In VW's new OS arriving in 2025, just three computing modules host the software: one for vehicle operation, body, motion and energy; another for networking, communication and security; and a third for connectivity.
Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler is going the same way with its MB.OS. It has four central domains, split into powertrain, autonomous driving, infotainment, and body and comfort systems.
"This will become the basis for all future Mercedes-Benz vehicles as a unique and standard software platform," Michael Hafner, head of MB.OS base layer and MBUX, said in an interview published on Daimler's website in September.
This approach mirrors Tesla, which has moved to a single System on Chip (SoC) architecture.