Currently, the automotive industry is extremely focused on two things: electric vehicles (EVs), and subscriptions (to reap the financial benefits that other industries are reaping from this business model).
Both of these developments have been pioneered by BMW, and we all remember that last year it was the first automaker to begin charging extra for heated seats. No longer a problem, I guess. This ‘feature’ lasted for exactly one winter before it was abandoned. BMW was shocked to learn that customers weren’t interested in paying for heated seats with a subscription, so it removed the option from its online store.
BMW heated seat subscription
Although not widely available, this was made available to BMW customers in the UK, Germany, New Zealand, Korea, and South Africa via the respective country’s online BMW storefronts. Prices varied by region, but a monthly subscription ran about $18, a yearly subscription about $180, a three-year subscription about $300, and an unlimited subscription about $415.
In the future, heated seats will still cost extra, but you’ll only have to pay for them once, at the time of purchase.
It’s tempting to get too excited about this development, but it’s important to remember that BMW is only avoiding this particular form of subscription, in which you pay for a hardware feature that was already physically present in the car even when you didn’t use it.
Software subscriptions, such as parking assistance or other active safety features, are still very much welcomed by the company. BMW’s sales and marketing 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. While it’s not true that customers paid twice as much, that impression persists in their minds. That’s why we put a halt to it.