By on November 20, 2018

Volvo released a mysterious teaser image for the Los Angeles Auto Show on Monday. The photo features what is obviously a phone boasting bold text that reads “this is not a phone” while resting on the seat of an automobile.

While it’s not immediately evident what the car brand is promoting, the hashtags #FutureIsMobility and #AutoMobilityLA give us a few hints. Volvo has an app and intends on debuting it in Los Angeles at the end of the month. As for what it might be for, we have some hunches. The strongest of which results in a follow-up press image where the phone says it’s a car dealership or key. 

Lynk & Co, Volvo’s sibling brand under Geely, has been pushing an app-based sales model that would circumvent needing to visit the dealership. Volvo has likewise mentioned updating its Care by Volvo automotive subscription app, providing a second-generation version to further minimize the need for customers to interact with the dealership. It’s also supposed to add the S60 to the service as part of the deal.

An equally likely prospect is that Volvo is offering more connectivity between its vehicles and cellular phones. The automaker also released a secondary image of a parcel in a trunk labeled as “not a parcel.” Last April, Amazon announced service that would give its couriers access to a person’s vehicle for the purpose of leaving package deliveries inside. The initial arrangement is exclusive to late model General Motors and Volvo vehicles and dependent upon the Amazon Key app. This may be an offshoot of that, allowing drivers to schedule when their vehicle is open or unlock it remotely from great distances.

However, there is a chance that this is related to some new ride-sharing app. Lynk had previously promised something along those lines, Volvo may be wanting to test how realistic such a program would be in the United States. In fact, if the car can be set up to remotely accept packages in its trunk via the hypothetical vehicle management system, there’s no reason that couldn’t be extended to secondary drivers.

While we appreciate the presumed reference to René Magritte’s “The Treachery of Images,” the mobility era is offering up some pretty tepid teasers. Although, Volvo’s marketing team is probably doing the best it can with the given subject matter. There aren’t a lot of ways to photograph an app and even fewer that will help to develop public intrigue.

[Images: Volvo Cars]

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