BMW has started charging a monthly subscription for heated cars , but users have already found ways not to pay.
BMW ‘s announcement to add a monthly subscription for heated seats has not gone down well with its users, who are hacking vehicles to get the service for free.
BMW is testing a subscription model for seat heaters in its cars in South Korea, charging $18 per month or a one-time fee of $415 for access.
Users are complaining because BMW is not charging any extra service, but one that is already included in their cars.
Wired notes that companies like UK-based Litchfield Motors, for example, modify the chips and can “help” owners with other digital features, including pay-as-you-go heated seats.
BMW has made similar moves in the past. The German automaker sparked a similar controversy in 2018. Back then, it launched a program that made customers pay $80 each year for the joy of wireless Apple CarPlay. Not long after, he changed things up in an effort to attract more customers and changed the program to include 240 months (yes, 20 years) for just $300.
Criticism of the model
There is criticism of the project as, in the case of heated seats, owners already have all the necessary components, but BMW wrestling has simply placed a software lock on its functionality that buyers have to pay to remove. For some software features that could incur ongoing costs for the automaker (like automatic alerts from traffic cameras, for example), charging a subscription seems more reasonable. But that’s not a problem for heated seats.
Other features BMW is locking behind subscriptions (according to the company’s UK digital store) include heated steering wheels starting at $12 a month; the option to record images from your car’s cameras at a price of $235 for “unlimited” use; and the “IconicSounds Sport package,” which lets you play engine sounds in your car for a one-time fee of $117.