The Car Thing in action. | Photo by Ashley Carman / The Verge

Spotify has stopped manufacturing Car Thing, a dashboard accessory designed to make it easier to control the streaming service on your phone from a car. The change was quietly announced as part of the company’s latest earnings release, which notes the decision cost the company €31 million (around $32 million). “Reported Gross Margin was negatively impacted by our decision to stop manufacturing Car Thing,” the release reads.

“Based on several factors, including product demand and supply chain issues, we have decided to stop further production of Car Thing units,” a spokesperson for the company told TechCrunch. “Existing devices will perform as intended. This initiative has unlocked helpful learnings, and we remain focused on the car as an important place for audio.”

“We remain focused on the car as an important place for audio”

Car Thing had a bit of a weird release. It was initially made available on an invite-only basis in April 2021, before Spotify opened up a public waitlist to buy the accessory in October. It only went on general sale this February, meaning it’s been widely available for just five months before Spotify publicly announced it’s stopping production.

When we tried it out for ourselves, we weren’t entirely sold on promise of the Car Thing. Increasing amounts of cars are now fitted with infotainment systems that offer easy, built-in access to Spotify — negating the need for a separate device — and there are plenty of existing workarounds to getting your phone’s audio to play out of your car stereo without the need for a pricey accessory tied to a single music streaming service.

As of this writing, the accessory is still available to buy on Spotify’s website, where it’s currently being sold at a discounted rate of $49.99 (down from its regular sale price of $89.99). Spotify hasn’t said how long it plans to offer support for the device, but given its short-lived release we wouldn’t bet on it being particularly long.


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