(WTVO) — Carmaker BMW this week announced it would be dropping its plan to charge customers $18 a month to engage the seat warmers and other in-car functions.
Autocar interviewed BMW board member Pieter Nota, who said the subscription plan was part of the automaker’s microtransaction experiments but was unsuccessful.
“We thought that we would provide an extra service to the customer by offering the chance to activate that later, but the user acceptance isn’t that high,” Nota said. “People feel that they paid double – which was actually not true, but perception is reality, I always say. So that was the reason we stopped that.”
BMW had tried out the subscription services in several countries, including the UK, South Korea, Germany, New Zealand and South Africa, which included having customers pay to unlock “active cruise control with stop and go function, adaptive M suspension, Apple CarPlay preparation, the BMW drive recorder, the BMW safety camera information, Driving Assistant Plus, front seat heating, high beam assistant, IconicSounds Sport, the map update package, the online entertainment voucher, and steering wheel heating.”
The car company also experimented with making the entire car a subscription, a service called Access by BMW, charging $2,000 to use a range of BMW vehicles.
Subscription services are growing more popular in automobiles as carmakers adopt over-the-air updates and attempt to unlock new revenue streams.
Modern cars are becoming more like computers on wheels, always recording and tracking their drivers and passengers.
A new survey by the non-profit Mozilla Foundation found that car manufacturers are exploiting a new revenue stream by selling information gathered by their cars to data brokers.
“Increasingly, most cars are wiretaps on wheels,” said Albert Fox Cahn, a technology and human rights fellow at Harvard’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. “The electronics that drivers pay more and more money to install are collecting more and more data on them and their passengers.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.