You would think that once you purchase something, it’s free for you to use as much as you’d like. That might not be the case anymore, at least with your cars, as automotive giants move towards microtransactions to charge you to use your car after you have already paid for it, as per the recent case with BMW.
According to several publications, BMW has started charging its customers a subscription to turn on their heated seats. It apparently has not been rolled out everywhere just yet, but select countries seem to have been quietly chosen for the subscriptions, including the UK, Germany, New Zealand, South Africa, and Malaysia.
It is unclear when the carmaker rolled out the “feature”, but a check on BMW Malaysia’s ConnectedDrive digital store shows that the subscription for front seat heating is available for subscription. There are also several other options including steering wheel heating, Apple CarPlay, the built-in dash cam, and more, with the company offering a free one-month trial for most of the features.
Heated seats start at RM80 per month while it costs RM780 for a year and RM1,750 for unlimited use. Meanwhile, a warm steering wheel costs RM50 per month and RM950 for an unlimited subscription. Even updating the map for the navigation system requires a yearly RM269 fee.
While people are certainly used to paying for subscriptions for digital services, being charged to use hardware that you already own seems a tad unreasonable. BMW got a lot of backlash years ago when it tried to charge for Apple CarPlay, causing the automaker to hold off on the decision before announcing in 2020 that it would finally start charging for some of its features.
Now it seems BMW is going full throttle on the microtransaction model, charging for things like heated seats, adaptive suspension, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, and the ability to play engine sounds in your car. All of which, again, are already built into the cars and are blocked from use by software.
(Source: The Verge)