BMW AG has abandoned charging customers subscription fees for heated seats in an early indication there will be limits for manufacturers to reap new revenue from software-based services.
(Bloomberg) — BMW AG has abandoned charging customers subscription fees for heated seats in an early indication there will be limits for manufacturers to reap new revenue from software-based services.
The luxury-car maker will go back to offering heated seats and wheels as optional equipment, rather than outfitting its vehicles with the hardware and charging consumers later, Pieter Nota, BMW’s head of sales and marketing, told Autocar. The company confirmed the comments and said it will continue to offer functions such as remote engine start and driver-assistance features on demand.
“We thought that we would provide an extra service to the customer by offering the chance to activate that later,” Nota said told Autocar. “People feel that they paid double — which was actually not true, but perception is reality.”
Read more: BMW Bets the Fuss Over Its Heated-Seat Subscriptions Will Pass
Carmakers including General Motors, Ford Motor and Tesla have been testing the willingness of consumers to pay to access certain in-car services with manufacturers keen to tap new profit pools. GM expects between $20 billion and $25 billion a year in software revenue by 2030, chiming broadly with predictions by Jeep-maker Stellantis NV.
The industry is trying to catch up with Tesla, which has been delighting owners for years with playful software features like musical car horns or Christmas light shows that appear after a software update. There’s also the option of shelling out $199 for the not-yet-operational Full Self Driving capability.
Elsewhere, drivers have been much less willing to engage with paid-for tech, particularly when it means forking out to use features relying on pre-installed hardware, such as the remote-start function on a key fob or simply going faster.
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