BMW to Let Users Subscribe to Aftermarket Features

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BMW subscription feature service

BMW will let you add features such as heated seats, even after you purchase the car, on a subscription basis.

The equipment will come installed in the car, but to access it, you must pay for it in subscriptions ranging from 3 months to 3 years, according to Roadshow.

The advantage is you can cancel heated seats in the winter or add adaptive cruise control when you head out on a road trip.  Plus, the second owner of the car might subscribe to a completely different set of features.

BMW said it already offers the ability to activate a Drive Recorder post-car purchase and it is now expanding that to other “comfort functions or driver assistance systems.”

The car maker said it is also exploring ways to expand “in-car communication in the future,” but offered no specifics.

We asked BMW if the new subscription service will include infotainment features but BMW did not respond to our inquiry.

Many automotive publications pointed out that BMW tried to charge for CarPlay in the past, only to eventually make it a free feature.

In a press announcement, the car maker wrote, “BMW sees the car as a digital platform…With Remote Software Upgrade, BMW has created the technical basis for keeping vehicles up to date, adding additional vehicle functions, and installing them quickly and easily over the air.”

It added,”BMW already offers its customers digital services and additional vehicle functions in the form of digital after-sales, some of which are deeply embedded in the vehicle’s software. In the US, BMW Drive Recorder is offered through a pilot program. In the near future, additional functions will be added that can access the vehicle’s existing hardware and software, such as certain comfort functions or driver assistance systems.”

The announcement of the new subscription service last week, followed other BMW announcements of a new smartphone-as-key function, as well as the option of Android Auto wireless.

Source: BMW, The Verge, Roadshow

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  1. Wow I agree with the comments.. sub based features are BAD. The only one who wins is the company collecting money.

    Paying money for heated seats more than just once, when purchasing the vehicle, is ridiculous.

    I understand radio/entertainment content.. that’s a consumable. But a sub to use hardware already in the car?! Get real.

    We can’t even buy a videogame these days without needing to buy a bunch of subs and DLC.. and now cars?!

  2. This is the stupidest business model I have ever heard of in the automotive industry. This type of thinking and marketing needs to be squashed immediately. It’s bad enough on apps we use, games we play, and insurance we buy. If any of you are planning to buy a BMW in the near future, go to the dealer, lead them on for a potential sale, and then tell them, dumb stuff like this is why you won’t ever buy a car from them.

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