business Are Automakers Really Going To Make Us Subscribe To Our Heated Seats? If it works for Netflix, it's good enough for BMW. Tenor
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We’ve all become accustomed to paying monthly subscriptions for streaming services, meal delivery programs, and apps of all sorts in recent years. Not to be outdone, it appears that the automotive industry is starting to take lessons from these companies and implement some subscription models of their own.

While it might just be a minor annoyance at this point, there’s a chance that all motorists will be beholden to paywalls and monthly fees in order to access even relatively standard features in the near future.

Where it started

There are a few companies that have already started charging auto owners each month for features that have historically been included in the purchase price of a vehicle. BMW, for example, is asking customers to shell out $18 each month to enjoy heated front seats and another $10 for a heated steering wheel.

Other automakers, including Mercedes, are charging monthly fees for the ability to get more power out of their engines.

The trend seems to have started with Tesla, which is among the most tech-centric car manufacturers ever. Once rivals noticed that people were willing to pay, they quickly jumped on the bandwagon

Where it’s going

As more and more companies begin implementing tech into virtually every facet of the manufacturing process, it will be easier than ever to allow customers to upgrade their vehicles — for a cost, of course.

Just like signing up for Netflix or joining a monthly delivery program, it’s likely that automakers will be inclined to offer a free or reduced-price membership to begin with before hiking the price considerably after drivers have gotten used to the convenience.

Another even more frightening possibility is that features we have grown accustomed to enjoying in our vehicles could one day be available only after we watch an ad.

Chris Agee
Chris Agee January 9th, 2023
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