A luxury car manufacturer is receiving some pushback on a recent development surrounding their new car sales. In select countries, BMW is requiring customers to purchase subscriptions in order to use a number of features, including heated seats.
The heated seat subscription, in particular, costs $18/month or $180/year. There’s also a $300 three-year plan or an unlimited package that comes in at $415. This feature is already installed in the cars, but in order to the enable the software, you’ll need to pay the price.
These subscription plans have been seen throughout the UK, and also in South Korea, Germany, South Africa, New Zealand, and other major markets. It has not taken hold in the US.
There are also other features that can only be unlocked through subscription, including heated steering wheel, cruise control, and Apple Carplay. There’s even a charge for a sensor that automatically cuts your high beam lights when it detects oncoming traffic, which seems odd considering it could be categorized as a safety feature.
It’s safe to say that folks on social media are not happy.
BMW crushed for heated seat subscriptions
Fans reacted negatively to the idea of a heated seat subscription. In the US, at least, that’s not something you typically pay an extra fee for. Take a look at the immediate response on social media.
Many are asking, “What’s next?”
Are brakes next for a subscription?
— Sami Fathi (@SamiFathi_) July 12, 2022
BMW starts selling accelerator and brake subscriptions for $50 a month each
— Emil (@EmilBangMik) July 12, 2022
How much for the airbag?
— Ed 💻 (@eddytilmant) July 12, 2022
Others hate the idea of paying for the parts in the purchase price of the car, even if you don’t subscribe to the feature. The technology is in the car either way, and you can bet the cost is reflected in that purchase price.
No matter what action a customer takes, it's still a win-win for BMW.
Need to use heated seats? $400 for lifetime access.
💵: Cost of car incl. parts for heated seats + $400 ➡️ BMW.
Don't need to use them? No worries.
💵: Cost of car incl. parts you won't actually use ➡️ BMW
— Rocketeer Rhyan ✘ (@99_999_965) July 12, 2022
Oh hell no. Subscribing to a physical feature of a thing you bought is not the move https://t.co/9g20C7QT3y
— Luke Miani (@LukeMiani) July 12, 2022
But most are just plain mad.
We’ll see if the subscriptions catch on and continue to expand into more countries and car manufacturers. If they do, you can bet there will be more angry customers.