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VW is making Car-Net free for five years after carjacking fiasco

In response to a carjacking involving a Volkswagen and a two-year-old child, Volkswagen of America today announced that it will provide a free five-year subscription for Car-Net Safe & Secure connected vehicle emergency services for most model year 2020 to 2023 vehicles – including ID.4s.

The carjacking in Chicago

At the end of February, there was a violent carjacking incident in Libertyville, Illinois. A Volkswagen Atlas was stolen from a woman’s driveway with her two-year-old son still in the car, and the woman was seriously injured after the carjacker ran her over.

A detective called VW and asked the rep to locate the car with Car-Net. The VW rep went full-on bureaucratic on the detective, saying that the Atlas’s “courtesy trial period” had ended, and that the owner would need to pay $150 to reactivate it in order to find the Atlas.

A member of the car owner’s family paid the $150, but due to the VW rep not budging, 30 minutes were wasted. Fortunately, police officers had already found the child, who was unharmed yet had been abandoned in a parking lot, and then the police later located the Atlas.

VW called the incident a “serious breach of the process,” and now it wants to make good.

Rachael Zaluzec, SVP, customer experience and brand marketing for Volkswagen of America, Inc., today released a statement, saying that VW “wants to make it right” in response to the incident, and said that Car-Net five-year subscriptions will now be free:

VW ID.4’s Car-Net Safe & Secure features

VW gas-powered models’ Car-Net subscriptions include Automatic Crash Notifications, Emergency Assistance, Stolen Vehicle Locator, and Anti-Theft Alerts.

But VW says ID.4 EV models’ Car-Net subscriptions only include Automatic Crash Notifications and Emergency Assistance. I’ve contacted VW to ask why the ID.4’s Car-Net offerings are more limited, and will update if and when they respond.

VW doesn’t mention it in today’s announcement, but the ID.4 Safe & Secure package includes Information Assistance, which means you can call an agent for help, or send a destination to your car with both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

ID.4 drivers also get Automatic Crash Notification, which means when the airbags go off, the driver is automatically contacted by the Car-Net Response Center to see if help is needed.

Emergency Assistance means vehicle passengers can call for help by pressing the SOS button to connect to emergency services. The vehicle location is transmitted and help is sent immediately, and the operator remains on the line.

Activating the free Car-Net

I already own a 2023 VW ID.4 so I have to wait til June to activate the free Car-Net Safe & Secure subscription, as per VW’s announcement:

The coverage begins as soon as the owner creates a myVW account and accepts the myVW and Car-Net Terms of Service. The coverage will remain active for 5 years after the sale date or June 1, 2023, whichever is later.

And I will definitely wait, as Volkswagen currently wants to charge me $389 for that same subscription.

VW, this was a smart move in response to a pretty awful incident. I look forward to having this service.

Photo: Volkswagen

Click here to find a local dealer that may have the VW ID.4 in stock.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.

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