BMW Walks Back Decision to Offer Subscription-Based Heated Seats

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague

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. 

[Image: BMW]

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2 of 44 comments
  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Sep 11, 2023

    From The Ultimate Driving Machine, to The Ultimate Revenue Machine. Or, for the BEV models, The Ultimate Revenue Washing Machine.

  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Sep 11, 2023

    Hey Pieter, why don't you have a talk with the design department and figure out which of the visually impaired designers needs to be reassigned to finance. That would be a good use of your time.

  • Dusterdude The "fire them all" is looking a little less unreasonable the longer the union sticks to the totally ridiculous demands ( or maybe the members should fire theit leadership ! )
  • Thehyundaigarage Yes, Canadian market vehicles have had immobilizers mandated by transport Canada since around 2001.In the US market, some key start Toyotas and Nissans still don’t have immobilizers. The US doesn’t mandate immobilizers or daytime running lights, but they mandate TPMS, yet canada mandates both, but couldn’t care less about TPMS. You’d think we’d have universal standards in North America.
  • Alan I think this vehicle is aimed more at the dedicated offroad traveller. It costs around the same a 300 Series, so its quite an investment. It would be a waste to own as a daily driver, unless you want to be seen in a 'wank' vehicle like many Wrangler and Can Hardly Davidson types.The diesel would be the choice for off roading as its quite torquey down low and would return far superior mileage than a petrol vehicle.I would think this is more reliable than the Land Rovers, BMW make good engines.
  • Lorenzo I'll go with Stellantis. Last into the folly, first to bail out. Their European business won't fly with the German market being squeezed on electricity. Anybody can see the loss of Russian natural gas and closing their nuclear plants means high cost electricity. They're now buying electrons from French nuclear plants, as are the British after shutting down their coal industry. As for the American market, the American grid isn't in great shape either, but the US has shale oil and natural gas. Stellantis has profits from ICE Ram trucks and Jeeps, and they won't give that up.
  • Inside Looking Out Chinese will take over EV market and Tesla will become the richest and largest car company in the world. Forget about Japanese.