Apple and Google in-car phone systems work really well, in the way that every carmaker attempt to emulate them does not.
Most manufacturers caved in early on this, but Mazda, like Toyota, did not.
That’s until now, of course. Mazda’s horse whisperers have decided suddenly that Apple and Android are on the menu for new Mazdas after steadfastly being all Ray Charles on the need for that.
If you’re in the mood for a bullshit degustation, you can research Mazda explaining what an ace job it’s doing, rolling out the hi-tech miracles of Apple and Android on new models.
Happily, as part of that, older Mazdas with MZD Connect - without Apple CarPlay or Android Auto - are upgradeable. That’s from 2014 on.
Mazda will retrofit the software - plus fit a new USB hub and wiring. But they intend to charge you an astonishing $500 for this privilege.
That’s in our Shitsvillian pesos, one of which is currently about 72 US cents or 64 Euro cents.
Two apps plus a small handful of not very advanced hardware - and a not all that highly trained technician to install it. $500. Please.
I’m pretty sure some data wonk in China could invent a USB dongle you just plug in and unofficially expand the functionality that way, and sell it profitably for $19.95.
This overpriced official Mazda ‘solution’ overcomes a deficiency in the product which was engineered in by Mazda’s spectacularly negligent and/or out of touch senior product development dickheads.
There is no universe in which $500 is a reasonable price for this.
The boss of Mazda here in Shitsville, Vinesh Bhindi, said:
“...we are especially happy that it is something we can offer to our existing community of customers.”
I bet he is: 370,000 potential customers times $500 apiece equals a brand new $185 million market. Yesssssss! Created by Mazda’s own engineered-in product deficiency.
They’re going to charge you a spectacular $202.28 for the USB hub and an audacious $101.12 for the wiring harness. The balance being labour and software, plus Mazda’s profit margin, and of course, the dealer’s.
Just grab your ankles while we, ahhh, perform your ‘upgrade’. You won’t feel a thing. Lubrication is optional. $97.48. Plus application.
You know, in Canada, which is like ‘Straya only colder, and with a much hotter Prime Minister, they have quasi-parity with the Shitsville dollar.
Canukistani Mazda is going to roll out its smartphone retrofit program (until February) for $250 (Canadian).
That’s about half of what you’ll pay, here in Shitsville. For exactly the same happy ending Google and Apple massage. Obviously, Siri will be doing the heavy lifting in the closing minutes.
And that means - personal opinion - Vinesh Bhindi - whom I presume signed off on this absurd decision to profiteer above all else - is being a total commercial cock on this.
Here’s this customer relationship opportunity, knocking on Big Bhindi’s door, right? It’s, like, we’ll upgrade your car, for (I dunno) $99, just to show you how well we support you and the product we sold you.
Like, we did get that wrong, resisting Apple and Android’s vast gravitational pull, focussed as we were on being ‘as one’ with that horse.
This is just our way of saying ‘thanks’ for putting up with our profound out of touchedness.
Meanwhile, in this universe, to you Mazda Australia Muppets, I’d say you spend shitloads on advertising. I am routinely bombarded with Mazda YouTube bullshit pre-roll advertising.
It’s all aimed at acquiring new customers. Yet carmakers like Mazda do, essentially, three-fifths of stuff-all to retain the customers they already have.
If you presented me with this $500 (quote-unquote) “upgrade opportunity” I would instantly resolve to buy a different brand of new car next time. Because I would conclude that you are arseholes.
Mainly because I’m not the monkey and even if I were, you certainly would not be my friggin’ organ grinder.
That’s why this is such a fail of the arsehole test for Mazda. It’s proof that you do not matter to them. The instant you drive off the showroom floor, they’ll forget about you, and spend millions trying to acquire the next new customer.
And that is what’s wrong with the way most carmakers do business today.