This week Tesla pushed out an update that added semi-autonomous driving features to some of its cars. Read that back to yourself and then consider how this compares to the traditional motor industry way of doing things. Tesla owners got new, enhanced and valuable features added to their cars at no cost and with no effort required.
That's an extinction level event for car manufacturers. The Tesla is the iPhone of cars. The rest of the industry is Palm or Nokia or even Motorola.
And if Tesla can being rocking the boat with what are actually tiny sales numbers, what on earth is going to happen when Apple arrives and starts throwing its weight around?
The traditional model of delivering car updates piecemeal, one tweak at a time every year throughout the vehicle's production cycle is unsustainable.
Of course not every feature is software upgradeable and nor is it feasible to deliver them at no cost. However over a typical three year ownership period car manufacturers are potentially missing out in significant income and customer loyalty by not providing upgrade paths.
Would the iPhone be as successful without regular iOS updates?
Car manufacturers offer tweaks to their models every year, offering them to existing customers promises both that income stream and better customer satisfaction. A tweak to the engine management system to make the car more fuel efficient or more powerful in line with the latest model, costs nothing but enhances the customer experience.
How about those other more tangible upgrades that suddenly make your 'new' car look a little less fancy - the new wheels, seats or entertainment system that always seem to be part of the new model year experience?
Offering them to customers with year old cars seems an entirely logical and simple step to take.
The winds of change are blowing for the motor industry and changing the way that they think about products, customers and service is imperative if they intend to survive.