BMW Won't Follow Mercedes With Added-Power Subscription
BMW, one of the companies that kicked off the exceptionally annoying trend of in-vehicle subscription features, now says it won’t follow rival Mercedes-Benz in offering added-cost power upgrades for some vehicles.
Before you go heaping praise on BMW for such a noble decision, we should point out that its motivation isn’t selfless. BMWBlog reported that fiddling with power figures after a vehicle’s release means restarting the onerous regulatory process. The time and money it takes to certify a new model for safety, emissions, and fuel consumption is enough that BMW doesn’t want to touch it.
It’s unclear how Mercedes has dealt with this issue, but we know the company has been blocked from offering its power subscription in Europe. BMW offers a heated seat subscription on the continent, though, so European luxury EV owners aren’t completely protected from the hassle.
Legal issues aside, many people feel these subscription services are a raw deal. Paying a considerable sum for a luxury EV and being asked to hand out even more money for simple features like heated seats would be infuriating, but it appears we’re headed toward even more of these situations. Audi, Volkswagen, Toyota, Porsche, Cadillac, and others are planning or have already released features via subscription. As more vehicles pick up advanced connectivity features, it’ll be easier for automakers to claw back features and charge more.
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SCE to AUX on Jan 11, 2023
On the downside, mfrs who provide access to such features via subscription also have to build the hardware into the car, taking the chance that people won't subscribe.
The only reason such schemes are happening is because integrated and networked infotainment vehicle controls make it possible.
If enough people spurn these costly options, the mfrs will stop doing things this way. One can hope.