No Subscriptions for You: Europe Halts Mercedes' EV Performance Upgrade Subscriptions
Automakers have stumbled on a new goldmine, but their path to extracting all of the potential value is fraught with angry customers and bad PR. Connected cars have led to an increase in subscription-based features that are almost universally despised, yet companies continue trying to make them stick. Mercedes is the latest automaker to offer subscription-based upgrades, but legal issues in Europe could stop the program before it spreads outside the United States.
Mercedes announced it would offer power upgrades for the EQE and EQS electric sedans for a $1,200 annual subscription fee. Though legal here, many buyers, journalists, analysts, and almost everyone else believes that a car purchase should be a one-time affair. However, in Europe, Mercedes faces other problems.
As Top Gear NL reported, Mercedes’ legal problems don’t necessarily stem from the subscription offer itself. BMW is able to offer its heated seat subscription there. In this case, the European judicial system took issue with the change in engine power and raised concerns, meaning the automaker cannot implement the upgrades until the questions are resolved. At the same time, Polestar offers an update to its EVs that improve performance, but in that case, it’s a one-time upgrade instead of a subscription.
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Chris grew up in, under, and around cars, but took the long way around to becoming an automotive writer. After a career in technology consulting and a trip through business school, Chris began writing about the automotive industry as a way to reconnect with his passion and get behind the wheel of a new car every week. He focuses on taking complex industry stories and making them digestible by any reader. Just don’t expect him to stay away from high-mileage Porsches.
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