The future of cars is a subscription nightmare

Will customers be willing to pay for features in a car through subscription?

The idea of implementing a subscription process to bring some income to the pockets of automakers is not the first time. BMW already tried to get its customers to pay for Apple car Play or Android services in its vehicles. However, it didn’t go well with their plan. Now the luxury car maker is attempting once again to provide heated car seats or remote-start key fobs at a subscription cost for its customers.

The future of cars is a subscription nightmare
Image credits- Reporter Door

Now the question comes on how much the customers are willing to take it. Basic things like heated seats and remote-start key fobs are something that always came with the car in the initial purchase. One thing is that people are not used to the idea of paying for such a feature too. Another is that, though not having a heated seat might seem uncomfortable, those customers who are cutting pack on their expenses or just don’t want to pay for something they have not been so far. It could be anything, but there are chances that it may work for BMW, as these are basic features. It is an $18- monthly subscription to get these features in various countries, including South Korea.


Cars are more full of computers and software than ever before, which has made it possible for automakers to add new features or patch problems on the fly with over-the-air software updates. This has also presented these automakers with new ways of making money. BMW isn’t alone — Volkswagen, Toyota, Audi, Cadillac, Porsche, and Tesla have all dabbled in subscription models for certain options, such as driver-assist features or voice recognition. It’s a troubling trend, considering how much people freaking hate it.

Earlier this year, Cox Automotive conducted a survey of 217 people who intend to buy a new car over the next two years. Only 25 percent said they’d be willing to pay a monthly or annual fee to unlock a feature in their vehicle. The remaining 75 percent said piss off. Of those 25 percent that doesn’t mind subscription, the features they’d be willing to pay an annual or monthly fee generally fell into three buckets: safety features like lane-keep assist or automatic emergency braking (although automakers have agreed to make the latter standard in new vehicles starting this year); vehicle performance features, like extra torque or horsepower; and creature comforts, like heated or cooling seats or steering wheels. “For automakers to achieve their revenue aspirations by charging consumers extra for features and services, they have work to do,” Cox’s Michelle Krebs said.

Credits- The Verge