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bmw heated seat subscription

BMW Abandons Heated Seat Subscription Model

bmw heated seat subscription

It’s a practice that’s a tale as old as time. We give companies money in exchange for goods and/or services. But at some point, that simply wasn’t enough. BMW was one of these companies that wanted to test the waters with subscription based services for hardware-based features in its cars. What exactly does that mean? This means if your car is already equipped with heated seats or something like that, you have to pay a monthly fee to gain access to it.

BMW started putting features behind a subscription paywall in 2020, but in 2022, they aimed to add heated seats to the micro transaction list. A subscription to warm your hind quarters would have cost $18 a month, a year for $180, three years for $300, or unlimited access for $415. This was a quiet roll-out that hit several countries but never actually made it the United States. Needless to say, this did not go over very well amongst the masses. Automakers have always been known to charge extra for additional features, but when it came to charging for hardware that was already installed, that definitely seemed to strike a nerve. 

bmw heated seat subscription

Fast forward, and it seems BMW is backing down from this policy. The German automaker has decided to rethink their plan regarding paying additional fees to use features that they claim customers didn’t buy initially, known as “functions/features on demand”, because it upset consumers. (Duh!) “We thought that we would provide an extra service to the customer by offering the chance to activate that later, “ said Pieter Nota, BMW’s head of sales and marketing. “People feel that they paid double — which was actually not true, but perception is reality.” Customers have cried out the initial move was greedy and exploitative. Other manufacturers have shown that customers have been willing to pay extra for some things like musical car horns or other various software based features, but were not willing to budge when it came to pre-installed hardware functionality. 

In the end we're fairly certain automakers will likely be willing to test the waters and see what sticks regarding sneaky additional revenue streams, but it most certainly seems like paying for already equipped features is a hard no for many consumers. The truth is however, features on demand are definitely here to stay. It will be interesting to see how things shake out as our cars get more and more technically advanced moving forward. 


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