Car manufacturers want to charge subscription fees for features such as heated seats

Customers may have to pay a subscription fee for features already built into the car

Companies such as Lexus and Mercedes-Benz want to charge customers subscription fees to use features like heated seats, or a heads-up display. These are usually included in the total price when you spec a brand-new car.

As vehicles become more connected to the internet, manufacturers will have the ability to enable or disable features when the driver’s subscription runs out or if they cancel it.

While this benefits the manufactures as it’ll streamline the production by building cars to more uniform specifications. It also ties the customer into a payment plan for several years, in the same way a customer may be locked into a finance arrangement until they pay it off.

Few drivers are willing to pay a monthly or annual subscription charge to use. According to Cox Automotive, 75% of consumers said they are not willing to pay a subscription fee for most items on their next car and believe that most features should be included in the upfront price.

BMW did a U-turn on its decision to charge customers $80 (£65) a year for Apple CarPlay, after receiving widespread backlash.

Charging consumers subscription fees for features and services already built into the vehicle sets a scary precedent for how much control manufacturers, big tech companies (that supply the software and microchips), and potentially governments have over our cars and where we drive them. Mercedes wants to cap its car’s acceleration and torque output unless the driver pays a $1,200 (£988) annual fee. The EU and UK will implement laws that force manufactures to fix Intelligent Speed Assistants capable of adjusting the engine power to prevent the car from exceeding the speed limit to all cars by 2024.

About The Author

Joseph Catley – SYPC Media Manager

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