Stellantis and Foxconn have been discussing a new partnership for months and finally announced what it entails. They have created a company called MobileDrive, a joint venture with 50/50 voting rights that they plan to turn into a significant tier-one supplier. Its focus will be on intelligent infotainment cockpit solutions and software.
The rationale behind it was that Stellantis wanted to offer the best experience with its digital cockpits, and Foxconn has a lot of expertise with connected devices. At the same time, Stellantis knows about automotive requirements and homologation processes, which would help Hon Hai develop suitable and reliable cockpits.
Sadly, the companies appear to have not explored other possibilities of cooperation. We asked them two questions about electric vehicle manufacturing partnerships and were completely ignored. The journalists who managed to make questions tried to address these doubts, but the inquiries about the MIH Open platform were not answered as well.
Apart from the intelligent cockpits, MobileDrive will also focus on software. The “forever up-to-date” strategy the partners explained aims not only at over-the-air updates but also on a new monetization strategy. Stellantis plans to verify which features are used more often.
With this sort of information, the company may offer improvements to that feature achievable by software. That will obviously have a cost, which will translate into a new revenue source for Stellantis.
Volkswagen already said that its project Trinity would pursue a similar strategy. If we understood it right, it would also refer to hardware that can be activated through software. We asked Stellantis about that as well and did not receive any answer during the press conference.
Gallery: Stellantis And Foxconn's New Joint Venture Will Dedicate To Cockpits: Meet MobileDrive
If Stellantis has the same plans, that could indicate legacy automakers will pursue this path to make electric vehicles more profitable. Tesla already sells packages for faster acceleration times, which an update may allow electric cars to have. Another possibility is for autonomous driving software to be sold that way. Again, that’s what Tesla already does with FSD even before it can deliver what the feature name claims that it offers.
For Stellantis, the intelligent cockpit with multiple screens will be a preparation for autonomous driving times. When they arrive, MobileDrive’s cockpits would be ready for them.