In July 2022, BMW introduced a subscription option for owners of its vehicles, allowing them to pay a monthly fee (around 18 euros) to have heated seats in their cars. However, it appears that very few customers were interested in this service, leading the German automaker to discontinue it.
According to Pieter Nota, a member of BMW’s board of management responsible for sales and marketing, the company plans to no longer offer the option of activating heated seats through a monthly or annual subscription. Instead, if someone wants heated seats, they will need to select them when ordering their vehicle before it is manufactured.
Nota added that “user acceptance is not so high” for the subscription option for heated seats, and customers felt like they were paying twice for the feature, even though it wasn’t the case in reality. As he stated:
“People feel they paid twice – something that wasn’t true, but perception is reality, I always say. That’s why we stopped that subscription.”
BMW is not completely eliminating subscriptions but is shifting its focus to products related to software and services, such as driving assistance and parking features. They have observed that customers are more willing to purchase these services after buying the car.
In fact, BMW believes that subscription services could generate 5 billion euros in sales by 2030. The company believes that these services will offer greater flexibility to vehicle owners, allowing them to avoid purchasing features they don’t use year-round.
BMW is not the only automaker exploring upgrades through subscriptions. Stellantis anticipates annual profits of 20 billion euros from subscriptions by 2030. Volkswagen also plans to charge for autonomous technology on an hourly basis, with a cost of 7 euros per hour. Ford and GM have set a goal of generating at least $20 billion in annual revenue from software subscription services by 2030.