BMW Walks Back Decision to Offer Subscription-Based Heated Seats
Automakers and companies of all types frequently survey their customers to develop ideas for new products and get feedback on existing items. But while that information is valuable and should be considered when creating new products, some companies seem to bypass the process altogether and end up rolling out something unexpected. Apple did a great job of that with the iPhone, creating a whole world of new products that people didn’t know they needed, but BMW didn’t have the same luck when it made the move to package popular vehicle features in added-cost subscription services. Though it’s not ditching the controversial practice altogether, BMW walked back the heated seat subscription after receiving scathing feedback from customers.
BMW board member Pieter Nota told Autocar, “We thought that we would provide an extra service to the customer by offering the chance to activate that later, but the user acceptance isn’t that high. People feel that they paid double – which was actually not true, but perception is reality, I always say. So that was the reason we stopped that.”
Perception is reality, and customers don’t take kindly to being told they’re wrong, so BMW didn’t have a lot of wiggle room. Nota did say that the automaker will continue offering services like parking assistance and other app-based services with either a one-time or subscription-based charge. According to Nota, owners are more accepting of paying for and downloading software-based services, as it feels like downloading a movie or music at home. They also noted that the services are well-received and becoming more successful as time passes.
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