BMW owners may now enjoy the comfort of a warming backside throughout the chilly winter months without worrying about paying an outrageous monthly fee. The company abandoned its proposal to charge customers $18 a month for heated seats after they objected to paying more to use their cars’ built-in features.
According to Pieter Nota, a board member for sales and marketing at BMW, he told Autocar, “We felt that giving customers the option to activate it afterward would provide an extra service, but user acceptance isn’t that high. People believe they paid twice what they did, but as I constantly say, perception determines reality. That’s why we stopped.”
When the functionality appeared in the company’s digital storefronts worldwide, people realized that BMW was attempting to put heated seats behind a paywall. With options to subscribe for $180 a year, $300 for three years, or “unlimited” access for $415, the cost will depend on the region.
Most likely, heated seats and steering wheels will continue to be an additional expense; however, they will only be available to buyers at the dealership as an optional package at the time of purchase. In some areas, subscriptions are still available for additional features like adjustable suspension and sophisticated driver assistance systems.
BMW had attempted unsuccessfully to use subscriptions before, however. The company initially tried to levy a $300 one-time fee and later a $80 annual cost for customers who wanted to utilize Apple’s CarPlay in their vehicles. Yet, most auto manufacturers offer Android Auto and CarPlay free of charge.
BMW has tried out the subscription model for the full vehicle by introducing a program called Access by BMW, in which users would pay about $2,000 per month to access a variety of BMW vehicles. Ultimately, the CarPlay and Access by BMW subscriptions were discontinued.