For decades, facelifts have been one of the most efficient methods for an automaker to boost a car's sales halfway through the life cycle. With a few exceptions, we've noticed midlife revisions have become less and less significant in recent times as companies are redirecting more money to fund their EV agendas. The future won't be all about getting rid of the combustion engine as the software will also play a key role in the electric era.

So much so that Volvo chief commercial officer and deputy CEO Bjorn Annwall has invented a new term: "brainlifts." He believes they'll become more important than the traditional styling facelift: "I think more of the consumer benefit will sit in the software rather than hardware." To that end, the Swedish automaker is striving to "get the right core compute and the right kind of intelligence of the car."

Volvo EX90

The Geely-owned brand predicts software upgrades will prevail over design changes in the eyes of the consumer. It doesn’t necessarily mean Volvo will completely abandon styling revisions as “we’re still humans and you still have a different shirt now than three years ago.” However, improving in-car tech will become a priority in the not-too-distant future.

In the interview with the Australian magazine CarExpert, Annwall touched on subscriptions and how Volvo is looking to monetize them. The company has no intentions "to skin our customers $1 for a small feature," especially since it's a luxury brand that should therefore come generously equipped from the get-go. Instead, it'll charge extra for a substantial upgrade, with an autonomous driving system being a relevant example.

Electrification is going hand in hand with more advanced software and Volvo wants to capitalize on the growing importance of both. The Swedes were among the first in the industry to announce the demise of combustion engines, promising to offer an all-electric lineup by 2030.

Subscriptions are planned not just for features, but also for the car itself as the EX30 debuting in June will be offered with a subscription plan for a minimum of three months. According to CEO Jim Rowan, the company's baby EV will have a "decent range" and should help Volvo attract new and younger buyers looking for a more affordable electric luxury crossover positioned below the XC40 Recharge.

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