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BMW: New Heated Seat Subscription Fee Won’t Impact US | New

Subscription services like Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime have become household staples that personalize our entertainment and shopping experience, but they’re no longer limited to our homes, offices and phones – they’re also making their way into new vehicles. More recently, BMW announced that vehicle owners will have the option of accessing heated seats through a subscription – but the automaker has clarified that this is not the case. not apply to its vehicles sold in the United States, stating instead that only certain “premium features” are included.

Related: What’s new at BMW for 2022?

A statement from the automaker says the subscription services currently available in the United States are limited to BMW Drive Recorder – a dash cam feature that uses the vehicle’s existing drive-assist cameras – and a remote start. Both are offered through BMW’s ConnectedDrive suite. If a buyer buys a vehicle with heated seats, it will be included for the life of the car. This is a departure from the automaker’s UK offering, where buyers can pay the equivalent of around $18 per month, $178 per year or $415 for unlimited access to heated seats.

The statement comes after a previous attempt by the automaker to implement a subscription model: In 2019, BMW asked vehicle owners to pay an annual fee of $80 or a fee of $300 for 20 years to access Apple CarPlay connectivity, but backed down on the decision. due to feedback from customers.

Features you can get with a subscription

The subscription model for vehicle features is not a new concept. Several automakers that offer self-driving capabilities have used this strategy before: Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Suite subscription ranges from $99 to $199 per month, depending on the vehicle’s Autopilot package. Ford and GM require subscriptions for BlueCruise and Super Cruise in addition to the cost of additional hardware. Porsche introduced a similar feature-on-demand upgrade for the Taycan, with features like lane-centering steering.

Rates are model specific and vary by duration. Although the subscription model has been largely limited to luxury brands, many mainstream vehicles currently require a subscription to connected services apps to access features such as remote start or OnStar after the expiry of the initial test.

Are buyers ready to pay?

Buyers can expect to see the subscription model proliferate among automakers in a bid to boost revenue, but many say they’re not ready to sign up, according to Forbes. According to the report, 44% of car buyers surveyed said they would prefer to pay up front for features, while only 18% preferred the subscription model.

A JD Power survey of consumer satisfaction with manufacturer apps confirms this sentiment. According to the survey, car owners are hesitant to pay to subscribe: 90% of respondents currently do not pay for the vehicle app, 28% say they are willing to pay up to $5, while 58% say they would not be ready to pay. pay at all. The most commonly reported frustrations included connectivity issues and slow speed.

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