In case you haven’t heard, premium automaker BMW are now selling trivial features such as heated seats, heated steering wheel, and even access to safety features on a monthly basis. Worse, they seem to think it’s the right thing to do.
This isn’t the first time BMW found itself becoming the butt of jokes but this fuss about them locking charging customers for inbuilt vehicle features via subscription or a heftier one-time fee is especially justified.
BMW charging you for heated seats. Justified?
Everyone seems to be wondering what’s happening behind the closed doors of BMW’s top management. Evidently, they’ve started copying the shady moneymaking tactics from the video game industry by incorporating their own form of the dreaded micro-transaction (MTX) model into their cars.
This practice essentially robs the consumer of purchasing a fully finished and complete product in place of being bled of cash every month ad infinitum (….forever). The key difference here is the fact that these BMWs are already equipped with the ability and hardware for heated seats and such.
The Munich-based automaker must have known that there would be controversy, but are betting that the flak they’re taking is merely temporary. We, the buying public, just have to calm down and trust BMW. Because BMW.
They also expounded the typical company talking point about “offering greater flexibility”, that heated seats, for example, only need to be subscribed to during the winter or a trip to the mountains.
Spokesperson Torsten Julich told Bloomberg that “We know from our customers that their mobility demands are not as static as they used to be.”
The above line is true only for the fact that it’s always been true. Nobody ever bought a car to use for a single solitary purpose where nothing ever differed. Here, it’s being used as a crutch for their crumbling argument.
BMW evidently sees the revenue potential in these sorts of cash-grab corporate moves and is reported to estimate its “digital offerings” yielding 5 billion Euros in sales by the end of the decade.
Stellantis and Volkswagen to follow suit?
Sadly, more and more automakers seem to be peering over the fence and observing how the marketplace reacts. Stellantis and Volkswagen Group are said to be targeting some 20 billion Euros in additional revenue from “software-driven features” by 2030 but who knows if their implementation will be as nauseating, or even more so.
Clearly, BMW and the wider automotive industry need a lesson in what customers will and will not tolerate. Years ago, they decided to make customers pay an additional and recurring fee to use Apple’s CarPlay before overwhelming pushback forced them to backpedal.
This seems like a repeat offence, only much more severe in its implication.