Products > Dodgy Technology

BMW to start charging subscription fees to use features already in your car

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Halcyon:
https://www.news.com.au/technology/motoring/hitech/bmw-set-to-offer-a-netflixlike-subscription-model-for-features/news-story/091963215ffc80581eb6d52b0fcdd4e0

https://www.bmw.com/en-au/shop/ls/cp/connected-drive

TL;DR: BMW want to start charging subscriptions for the use of features already included in the vehicle. For example, AUD$29 per month or AUD$289/year for front seat heating or AUD$89 for a map update to the navigation system.

I would have considered a BMW for my next car up until this point, but now, there is no way I'll even walk into one of their dealers to even inquire.

I'll stick with Volvo where all that (and more) is already free/included with the initial purchase price of the vehicle.

MrMobodies:

--- Quote ---Car making giant BMW is set to 1 revolutionise :bullshit: the way we buy cars and use their features. But some people are likening it to ‘the apocalypse’.


The world of microtransactions is coming to a car near you. BMW is planning to charge monthly subscriptions for certain tech and luxury features in its cars. Owners will soon be able purchase access to features such as heated seats or a heated steering wheel through the BMW Connected Drive store. Cars are becoming more connected and many update the vehicle’s software over-the-air :bullshit: 5 in the same way your smartphone :bullshit: does.

Drivers can also choose a yearly, three-year subscription or buy the feature outright at a cost of $289, $419 or $589 for heated seats and $169, $259 or $349 for a heated steering wheel. Customers can also choose to pay for $19 a month to switch on the BMW Drive Recorder that automatically starts recording if your BMW detects that an accident is taking place. It will automatically store a video clip via the cameras of the driver assistance systems. The subscription service won’t be available on existing models but is set to be offered from new models launched from the end of this year. Some on social media have described the move as “Welcome to microtransaction hell” and “The apocalypse”. This is wild — BMW is now selling a monthly subscription service for heated seats in your car.

• Monthly fee: $18
• Annual fee: $180

The car will come with all the necessary components, but payment is needed to remove a software block.

Welcome to microtransaction hell.

— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) July 12, 2022
BMW owners can already upgrade their vehicles with one-off purchases for items such as wireless Apple CarPlay for $450.

This feature allows iPhone users to access key features such as calls, maps, messages, music and podcasts through their car’s infotainment display. Critics point out that other car makers, including most of BMW’s rivals, deliver these functions free of charge. Connecting your phone with a cord to access CarPlay is free after BMW tried charging customers several years ago for this feature before quickly backflipping.

BMW previously trialled charging customers for CarPlay.
2 Owners can also buy items such as high-beam assist that can detect when a car is approaching and dim the high beams and then turn them on again when the road is clear. These subscriptions and 4 one-off purchases allow buyers to keep down the cost of the initial vehicle purchase and then pick and choose what they want at a later date. Other car makers are likely to follow BMW down the road of microtransactions.

Audi and Mercedes-Benz have expressed interest in similar online stores.

3 A Mercedes-Benz software developer told News Corp Australia several years ago that the manufacturer will allow drivers to “to turn features on and off in their cars”, something that will start with software but “can definitely expand in the future to be in hardware”. Audi has previously had pay-as-you go features in Europe and expressed a desire to expand them. BMW has been criticised in the past for charging customers for items that are standard on cars sold by rivals such as Lexus. The brand also has the worst new-car warranty of any manufacturer. While the vast majority of makers offer five years’ coverage, the brand still offers only three years. The brand also has the worst new-car warranty of any manufacturer. While the vast majority of makers offer five years’ coverage, the brand still offers only three years.
--- End quote ---

1Revolutionise I hear that alot in scams. I wonder does that mean they are going to force car buyers into "renting" functionality and not give them a choice of purchasing them outright?

2 I find that more like a safety feature.

3 Let the manufacturer through the software dictate what features you and can't use and when they feel like it.

4 Now if I can physically buy the features for that car at the time of purchase fine but not on a rental.

5 What if I don't want it connected up to anything remotely and for it to be left alone?

https://www.bmw.com/en-au/shop/ls/dp/Base_CarPlay_au
"Apple Carplay Preparation" $450 [1] unlimited

--- Quote ---"The Apple CarPlay Preparation enables on iPhones to be used wirelessly, conveniently and safely :bullshit:"
--- End quote ---
What do they mean by Safely?
Sounds like a new level of bullshit to me

Well one good thing, at least they didn't use plaster the word "smart" all over the place in the connected drive url or I haven't noticed.

Most of the features seem to have unlimited but I see this at the bottom like this one:
https://www.bmw.com/en-au/shop/ls/dp/Seat_Heating_SFA_au

--- Quote ---[1] Unlimited as long as the technical prerequisites are met for this vehicle
--- End quote ---
I wonder what they mean by that?

bdunham7:

--- Quote from: Halcyon on July 13, 2022, 03:20:03 am --- For example, AUD$29 per month or AUD$289/year for front seat heating or AUD$89 for a map update to the navigation system.
I'll stick with Volvo where all that (and more) is already free/included with the initial purchase price of the vehicle.

--- End quote ---

Those are two very different examples, although with Google available I don't really like paying for either one. 

One of my cars has 'telematics' which can track it, set charging times, download usage data, etc.  There was a 5 year trial period included when new, and just recently instead of offering me an upgraded 4G modem and a paid subscription, they simply terminated the service and shut down the website.  "The upgrade path is a new car"--an actual quote from one of their executives.  Abandonware at it's finest.  But not my heated seats!  That would piss me off.

Halcyon:

--- Quote from: bdunham7 on July 13, 2022, 03:53:16 am ---
--- Quote from: Halcyon on July 13, 2022, 03:20:03 am --- For example, AUD$29 per month or AUD$289/year for front seat heating or AUD$89 for a map update to the navigation system.
I'll stick with Volvo where all that (and more) is already free/included with the initial purchase price of the vehicle.

--- End quote ---

Those are two very different examples, although with Google available I don't really like paying for either one. 

One of my cars has 'telematics' which can track it, set charging times, download usage data, etc.  There was a 5 year trial period included when new, and just recently instead of offering me an upgraded 4G modem and a paid subscription, they simply terminated the service and shut down the website.  "The upgrade path is a new car"--an actual quote from one of their executives.  Abandonware at it's finest.  But not my heated seats!  That would piss me off.

--- End quote ---

I don't think the examples I provided are very different at all. I stopped buying maps when they no longer came on DVD's that you had to insert into the navigation system of the car. Free lifetime maps have been around for a long time and it's not unreasonable for a consumer that pays good money for a vehicle, to expect that functionality to continue for as long as the map provider releases those updates.

Kia, Audi, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Mercedes Benz, Toyota, Volvo and I'm sure many others provide free maps that you can download and update yourself. Subaru provide some free updates (depending on the model of your car) and Ford will update them "for free" when you book a scheduled service with a dealer.

I can understand things like vehicle tracking as being an additional paid service. It's not a common product consumers would buy or expect to be included, with the exception of maybe commercial vehicles.

MrMobodies:

--- Quote from: bdunham7 on July 13, 2022, 03:53:16 am ---instead of offering me an upgraded 4G modem and a paid subscription, they simply terminated the service and shut down the website.
--- End quote ---

That's why I like the things I see and buy to be "in house" so it stays like that regardless of what happens out there with the manufacturer.


--- Quote from: Halcyon on July 13, 2022, 04:10:00 am ---I don't think the examples I provided are very different at all. I stopped buying maps when they no longer came on DVD's that you had to insert into the navigation system of the car. Free lifetime maps have been around for a long time and it's not unreasonable for a consumer that pays good money for a vehicle, to expect that functionality to continue for as long as the map provider releases those updates. free maps that you can download and update yourself. Subaru provide some free updates (depending on the model of your car) and Ford will update them "for free" when you book a scheduled service with a dealer.
--- End quote ---

In a 2014 Volkswagon Audi wanted £120 a year subscription fee just to even use the maps.
That has made the portable GPS we used before more appealing refusing to fall for that nonsense.

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