No one but Bezos can hear you on your test drives now.
Let's be honest. Going on a test drive sucks. While the CarBuzz crew has the privilege of largely unsupervised time with new cars, car buyers do not. And they tend to dislike the test driving experience whether because of pushy salespeople in an unusually charged auto market or a lack of time to properly evaluate the car.
However, if you're in the market for a Volkswagen ID.4, VW may have a solution to at least some of these problems. You'll just have to contend with your data being given away to Alexa first.
VW has introduced a program it calls "Test Drive with Alexa." As the name suggests, customers in certain regions will be able to schedule a test drive with Alexa and no one else in the car. That solves the pushy salesperson issue. After a brief walkaround, customers are handed the keys and sent on their way.
At this point, you'll be able to either drive along silently or ask Alexa to answer questions about the ID.4 you're driving. VW's press materials give an example of one of the prompts. Should you ask Alexa about massaging seats, it'll respond in kind.
"The seat massage function is available in the front seats of the I.D.4 Pro S and Pro S with Gradient. If you'd like to try it, just ask, 'Alexa, how do I turn on the massage feature.'" This one is actually pretty nice. Some may not have even been aware of the feature, nor how to turn it on. Having a digital assistant handle all of that in one response is much better than spending 15 minutes talking about the same feature with a salesperson.
Alexa can also share features about the car's battery capacity, pricing, blind spot monitoring, infotainment, maintenance, and more.
In short, you'll treat Alexa as you would in any other environment. Obviously, there's some questions that can't be answered by a pre-programmed robot living inside the ID.4's dash. To get those questions answered, you'll have to speak to a real person. Still, we think it's better than constantly being pitched by a dealer.
"In our push to bring EVs and electromobility to all, we need to find new and exciting ways to talk to our customers," said Andrew Savvas, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Volkswagen Group of America. "This collaboration with Amazon does just that. Future Volkswagen owners can experience all our ID.4 has to offer with the aid of a voice service they've already come to know." You can sign up on Amazon's website.
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