BMW offers seat heating when you sign up – and that’s just the beginning


Your car can do more than you think: the hardware is already installed for many extras, but the functionality is only activated after payment. What caused the disruption at BMW would soon become a standard in the automotive industry. FOCUS Online explains why.

You don’t really need them in the hot summer, but who doesn’t love a cozy seat heater in the winter? Convertible drivers in particular are reluctant to put their backs on the icy leather seat. What many people do not know: there may be a heater in your seat, the right button is not there. Because you were too stingy to put a cross of equipment for heating the seat.

BMW offers seat heating as a subscription

BMW has now launched a subscription model for heated seats in its cars. In the UK, New Zealand, South Africa, South Korea and Germany, customers can now book the option for 18 euros per month. A tweet from tech site The Verge, which was about the subscription, sparked a heated discussion on Twitter. Depending on how often you want to be warm, the costs increase: an annual subscription is available for 180 euros, for 300 euros you can enjoy heated seats for three years. If you pay a subscription of 415 euros, you can use the seat heating indefinitely.

BMW has been testing a subscription model since 2020 and only offers certain services if the customer pays more for them. Special feature: Accessories – for example seat heating elements – are installed in cars anyway. However, it is activated only for a fee.

Tesla was a digital pioneer

That smells a little like making money. In fact, some industry experts believe it could be a multi-billion dollar business for automakers. Of course, this concept is not entirely new and BMW is not the only manufacturer to break new ground with a car extra. When it came to enabling later functions – or even limiting them – Tesla was more of a pioneer. Automakers are just realizing the full potential of extras that can be installed, and BMW is particularly innovative.

The benefit of such a system for users: You can only accept certain add-ons if you really need them. In addition to seat heating, BMW also offers steering wheel heating, for example, which costs 10 euros per month – and can also be tested first. Nothing like this has existed before; if you had ordered a spare for your car, but did not use it, the money was lost. Now you can adjust your car better according to your needs – if possible change -.

Excesses are no longer tied to the car, but to the owner

It is not only an additional comfort, but also all types of digital services can be selected and deleted. Developers are also actively participating in this field because they do not want the digital business to be completely hijacked by Google or Apple. But that doesn’t always go well. “The move has met with backlash from customers. After criticism, BMW recently dropped a plan to charge about 80 euros a month for Apple CarPlay in the US.‘ writes Business Insider.

There are no limits to fandom. For example, why not have a car where the driver can set a specific engine output position or top speed as desired? Or different charging capacities and ranges of electric vehicles? In any case, BMW’s digital spokesperson Christophe Koenig assumes that the topics of efficiency and the environment will also play an important role in the choice of accessories in the future.

Another advantage for manufacturers: in the future, accessories will no longer be tied to the car, but to the owner. If the car is resold used, the car manufacturer can get something back if the new owner puts in extra books that the previous owner didn’t have – or has to keep them again. In this way, the car will finally become a digital business model.

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