BMW heated seat subscription not in U.S.

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Automaker BMW is launching a subscription service for heated seats and different bodily options in some international locations.

In mid-July, a tweet that now has greater than 220,000 likes claimed that automaker BMW “is now promoting a month-to-month subscription service for heated seats in your automotive.” The tweet says the fee is $18 a month or $180 yearly.

The declare hasn’t solely gone viral on Twitter. The 4 hottest breakout Google searches for BMW over the previous month have been about this heated seat subscription. 

THE QUESTION

Is BMW promoting a month-to-month subscription service for heated seats?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This needs context.

Sure, BMW is promoting a subscription service for heated seats, however solely in some international locations. BMW is just not promoting heated seat subscriptions in the US. 

WHAT WE FOUND

BMW can remotely give its newer automobiles upgrades, in addition to allow or disable sure options, by means of a system it calls BMW ConnectedDrive. By means of ConnectedDrive, BMW can provide a automotive software program updates. These software program updates permit BMW to alter a driver’s entry to sure options primarily based on in the event that they pay for the function by means of a subscription.

However ConnectedDrive doesn’t operate the identical in each nation.

BMW of North America issued a press launch on July 15 to make clear that automobiles ordered with heated seats within the U.S. wouldn’t must pay a subscription to make use of them. Heated seats are included in orders for greater than 90% of the BMWs offered within the U.S., the corporate mentioned.

“If a automobile is initially ordered with heated seats, that possibility will stay totally operational for the lifetime of the automobile,” BMW of North America mentioned. “BMW of North America doesn’t anticipate manufacturing facility possibility buy ranges to alter considerably going ahead.”

The corporate mentioned that ConnectedDrive presently permits American prospects to subscribe to 2 options: a splash cam and distant engine begin. 

Kelley Blue Guide says BMW is utilizing this subscription mannequin extra broadly in South Korea, Germany, South Africa, the UK and some different international locations. 

“Let’s be clear: BMW is just not charging American patrons subscription charges for automotive options,” Kelley Blue Guide says. “Nevertheless it’s value reporting as a result of it in all probability will come right here — and it in all probability gained’t simply be BMW that brings it.”

BMW does provide a subscription for heated seats in Japan, Malaysia, South Africa and several other international locations in Europe. In these international locations, prospects can select a month-to-month subscription, an annual subscription, a subscription for 3 years or pay a one-time payment to make use of heated seats for the lifetime of the automotive. For instance, in the UK, prospects pays the equal of $18 month-to-month for heated seats, $180 for the annual subscription or $450 to have heated seats for the lifetime of the automotive.

BMW of North America confirmed in a press launch that this mannequin of providing each subscriptions and lifelong buy choices for non-standard options would be the firm’s plan for ConnectedDrive going ahead.

“Prospects will have the ability to discover new software-based options on a short-term foundation by buying a trial, or shopping for that function outright for a time frame or for the lifetime of the automobile,” BMW of North America mentioned.

Automobiles.com mentioned BMW tried to introduce a subscription mannequin within the U.S. as soon as earlier than. In 2019, it requested automobile homeowners to pay an $80 annual payment or a $300 payment for 20 years to entry Apple CarPlay connectivity. Automobiles.com mentioned it walked again on the choice following buyer backlash.

BMW is way from the primary auto firm to supply providers for a month-to-month subscription. GM has provided OnStar, its navigation and emergency service, for 25 years. Tesla gives a subscription for full self-driving capabilities at $99 or $199 per 30 days primarily based on the package deal.

An April 2022 survey by Kelley Blue Guide dad or mum firm Cox Automotive discovered that 92% of surveyed shoppers believed heated and cooled seats must be a part of a automobile’s buy worth, not provided in a subscription.

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