BMW's Heated Seats Subscription Fails to Survive Culling
The company has abandoned its contentious approach and shifted its emphasis towards paid software services. It has decided not to levy additional charges on drivers for utilizing hardware features already present in their vehicles.
Pieter Nota, BMW's board member responsible for sales and marketing, has indicated a shift in the company's strategy towards paid software features, focusing on offerings like driving assistance and parking assistance. Nota likened this approach to common practices such as downloading movies or accessing paid features within apps.
However, BMW's experiment with an $18 per month heated seats subscription in select countries faced a lukewarm reception from drivers. Nota acknowledged that user acceptance was not as high as expected, stating, "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. 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."
This shift appears to align with supply and demand dynamics, as drivers were not inclined to pay for features like heated seats (or similar amenities like heated steering wheels). As a response, BMW has ceased this practice and clarified that it won't require owners to pay extra for hardware functions in the future. This represents a positive step forward.
Interestingly, BMW made this decision just as the cooler fall weather arrives in the northern hemisphere, and notably, the heated seats subscription didn't even survive to see a second winter before being discontinued.