Have you paid a subscription fee lately? Such as $10 a month to watch shows on Netflix or $15 a month for two-day or same-day shipping with Amazon Prime. Subscriptions are all around us and are now being embraced by the automotive industry.
In select markets, BMW introduced the ConnectedDrive Store, a portal for existing owners can download various apps over the air to upgrade features on their vehicle, similar to how Tesla offers upgraded Autopilot subscriptions for a hefty monthly fee.
However, BMW isn't offering customers some advanced driving system that can autonomously navigate a vehicle around a parking lot with the touch of a button via a smartphone app or drive occupants around the metro area hands-free. The German automaker has begun to sell monthly subscriptions for "high beam assistant" and "front seat heating."
BMW has embraced subscription monetization that will set drivers back $18 a month for heated seats or "unlimited" for $415. It's similar to mobile gaming or video games -- want a flashier player, better weapon, or a new map package -- well, you have to pay for that.
"Front Seat heating gets things nice and cosy in no time," the ConnectedDrive store reads. "Activation after purchase is quick and easy."
The Verge noted, "BMW has slowly been putting features behind subscriptions since 2020, and heated seats subs are now available in BMW's digital stores in countries including the UK, Germany, New Zealand, and South Africa. It doesn't, however, seem to be an option in the US — yet."
BMW is now a SaaS company— Dr. Parik Patel, BA, CFA, ACCA Esq. (drpatel.eth) (@ParikPatelCFA) July 12, 2022
Heated Seats as a Service pic.twitter.com/ubVT7PWVIK
"One of the most unusual items found in the BMW ConnectedDrive Store is called IconicSounds Sport. It essentially plays fake engine noises through the car's speakers should you be willing to pay $138 to have the feature permanently," automotive website Motor1 pointed out.
The rise of in-car subscriptions is here, and drivers are furious because they're paying for the hardware they can't use -- and there's nothing revolutionary about heated seats, unlike Tesla's upgraded Autopilot for $200 per month.
"Do NOT get the heated seat subscription, or anything similar to it," one Redditor said on r/BMW. "
"The f**king hardware is in your car and you've already paid! And a f**king subscription on top of that is nonsense. Don't get this, people, please," they continued.