Make buttons great again – Volkswagen ditches capacitive steering controls for ‘real’ buttons

In pursuit of a ‘cleaner’ and more futuristic feel, a few car makers have opted for capacitive buttons on the steering wheel. However, it seems that some customers aren’t a big fan of this as seen in the case of Volkswagen, and the brand has decided to listen to its customers. The company’s CEO has hinted at the return of ‘push-button’ steering wheel controls in a recent post on LinkedIn.

In the LinkedIn post, Volkswagen CEO, Thomas Schäfer said, “We are sharpening our portfolio and our design, plus creating a new simplicity in operating our vehicles. For example, we are bringing back the push-button steering wheel! That’s what customers want from VW.”

Push-button controls are more intuitive and allow you to keep your eyes on the road.

Capacitive buttons, like touchscreen controls, may offer a clean aesthetic but aren’t as intuitive as the more tactile traditional push-button controls. It is often that one must glance at the controls and it becomes a distraction. Previously, a study has even reported that buttons are much better than touchscreen controls in cars.

Volkswagen is not the first to backtrack from the use of capacitive touch buttons. Previously Honda has reverted to physical buttons for the latest-generation Honda Civic’s volume control. The German carmaker has not made any comments about capacitive controls in other areas apart from the steering wheel.

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Cockpit of the Volkswagen GTI

Aside from the return of push-buttons on the steering wheel, the Volkswagen CEO also announced two other things in the same LinkedIn post. The first one is that by 2026, the brand will have launched ten EV models worldwide in every relevant segment. So far, Volkswagen already has the ID.3, ID.4, ID.5, ID.6, and ID.Buzz in its electric offence.

Secondly, Volkswagen is pushing for digitalisation in the entire customer journey. The company boss said, “We are pushing digitalization not just in our vehicles but in the entire customer journey. Customers in Germany, France, and Italy can now complete the entire process of buying a car online – and more markets will follow. However, our dealers are and will remain our foundation and the face of the brand to our customers.”

Volkswagen fans who are not fans of the capacitive buttons can now rejoice. Listening to their customers is the top priority for Volkswagen as the CEO assures, “One thing is clear: We are continually working on offering our customers what they really want.”

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