Yesterday, Bavarian automaker BMW appear that it’s going to start alms some agent appearance as paid for options as part of its in-car “connected” services.

In the future, BMW drivers could be able to add appearance to their agent as and when they please, by purchasing options — like cruise ascendancy and heated seats — from BMW through the vehicle‘s ConnectedDrive store or the “My BMW App.”

It’s not gone down well

If you needed acceptable that this is apparently a abhorrent idea, read this piece by Jason Torchinsky over at Jalopnik. As he points out right away in the headline, “BMW’s new affection cable plan idea needs to be chock-full before it starts.”

While DriveTribe’s report on the matter didn’t go into too much depth beyond the announcement, the comments area acutely shows that people are pissed about BMW’s decision. Roadshow by CNET called the whole thing “ugly.”

The Drive also acicular out that making owners pay cable fees for already able accouterments appearance is lunacy.

Twitter was also awash with criticism of BMW‘s plans. Many accent the glace slope that BMW is now perched atop.

One witty alone even added a link to the story in the subreddit r/latestagecapitalism. Which kind of hits the nail on the head.

BMW is bathrobe this up as an befalling to make your car just the way you want it, and to personalize it to the nth degree, but really it’s annihilation more than a way of streamlining assembly and base abeyant future acquirement streams.

You’ve always been able to personalize your car, at point of acquirement and afterwards with third-party parts.

A glace slope

In short, BMW’s cable idea means that you’ll no doubt end up paying a exceptional price tag for that exceptional BMW (because the accouterments is already fitted) you’ve been abject over for years, only to find out most of the accouterments it’s able with isn’t activated. But don’t worry, BMW’s got your back and will let you pay a fee to enable it!

But where is that going to stop? Will we start accepting answerable by the minute for the air conditioning? What about using the indicators: 10 cents for every turn? Most would say that last one won’t affect BMW drivers, though. But even so, it doesn’t sound good.

I’m not averse to change, far from it, but I am averse to things that are anti-consumer. While this may give some drivers the befalling to add appearance at a later date, when they can afford them, it also means that drivers will be more abundantly belted on how they modify their vehicles.

It’ll also make it a cephalalgia when you come to sell your vehicle. Are you declared to attenuate your subscriptions? Or do you leave them active for the next owner? Or do you ask them to pay you for them, because you added them as an option? The whole thing is not customer oriented, not simple, and sounds like too much of a headache.

There might be a few aerial benefits. For example, used car buyers might be able to add appearance not originally specified, which may open up the second hand market a bit.

It also might be a boon for those that lease their car. Adding alternative extras on lease cartage can disproportionately access the account fee, but being able to add appearance only when you need them might help keep costs down.

When it comes to appearance that are purely software-based, like cruise control, it makes sense. Because every car has the adequacy to offer that anyway. The real issue is when the appearance crave specific hardware, like heated seats, that is fitted but just not enabled. BMW should steer well-clear of messing with what have always been accouterments focused features.

Historically, when you buy a new car you’d specify it at point of purchase, and you then own aggregate and can use aggregate as you please. If that’s important to you, maybe BMW won’t be the brand for you. If alternative extras get your motor running, article like a Kia or Hyundai might be a better option.


The most aching thing about all this though, is that BMW doesn’t seem to have abstruse from its past mistakes.

Just last year, the carmaker made access to Apple CarPlay an £85 (about $100) per year subscription. After much furor, the aggregation u-turned on the idea and made the affection free.

BMW told Jalopnik that it’s not going to do annihilation desperate too soon, though. Hopefully, the aggregation is taking note of this acknowledgment and will act accordingly.

Ultimately, whether this will be a success depends on the finer details, like how much the aboriginal price of the accouterments able car is affected; if it’s essentially cheaper, that’s a good start. Or how affection subscriptions automatically renew. And of course, how much it costs to enable assertive features, and for how long.

This has the abeyant to help BMW access some economies of scale on specific hardware, if that can make upfront agent costs lower, then maybe, just maybe this could be a good thing. That’s unlikely, though.

All of this sounds absolutely acrimonious to the consumer, and it creates a list of apropos as long as their arm when it comes to owning and affairs their vehicle.

On the surface, I hate the sound of the idea, but I’m accommodating to give BMW a little more time to figure out the details. I just hope it has abstruse from the last time it tried article like this.

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