BMW scandal about blocked seat heaters – the carmaker takes a stand

BMW scandal about blocked seat heaters – the carmaker takes a stand


Microtransactions and subscriptions are primarily known from streaming portals and video games. But the auto industry has already discovered its own registration models. So far, additional services for which monthly fees have to be paid have been limited to software. For example, users have to pay for navigation map updates. But now “Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft” (BMW) is going one step further.

Seat heating registration

BMW drivers who want to use the winter heating feature must now register at the BMW ConnectedDrive store. Cost: 17 euros per month. Alternatively, interested parties can put 170 euros on the table for one year or 270 euros for three years. If you want to use the heated seat indefinitely, you have to pay 385 euros. Now, it is not new that car buyers who want to add luxury features to their future car are asked to pay extra. But in this case, the devices are already installed and are only blocked by the software lock. And that applies to steering wheel heating. It’s just that BMW pays a monthly payment here for 10 euros and offers unlimited use for 220 euros.

In general, this concept is very reminiscent of what are known as microtransactions or in-app purchases, which are frequently criticized in the gaming industry. And accordingly, BMW’s advance is not good. On Reddit many consumers have already declared that they will not buy a BMW in the future. So far, however, registration types have not yet affected all BMW enthusiasts. The offer is currently available in the US, Germany, France, South Korea and the UK, among others. However, additional features offered may vary by market.

More features on subscription

In addition to the seats and steering wheel heaters, there are many other subscriptions in the German connected Drive Store, such as the BMW Drive Recorder – a dashcam function for 20 euros per month. Several safety features such as the Driving Assistant (37 euros per month) and the high beam assistant (10 euros per month) are also offered as sub-transactions. The first automatically maintains the distance to the vehicle in front, the desired speed and lane, while the second supports the driver by automatically fading up and down for oncoming traffic and traffic ahead. Of course, drivers can only write features if the technical requirements of their car are met.

“No registration style” – BMW takes a stand

On request, BMW informed us that the car manufacturer does not offer a subscription model under BMW ConnectedDrive. Instead, “Work on Demand” should give customers “more flexibility and flexibility” after buying a car. The offer is “an important part of the BMW Group’s after-sales strategy” and has been in place since the beginning of July 2022. Buyers who have already booked and purchased features such as heating when ordering a car will have unlimited and hourly access. no extra cost. On the other hand, anyone who refrained from booking can do so later in the BMW ConnectedDrive Store. “The required run time or usage time is calculated”.

According to BMW, the current debate can be traced back to a database problem. This is said to have caused South Korea’s BMW ConnectedDrive Store website to incorrectly list seat and steering wheel temperatures in early July. However, these features are common in cars in South Korea. The bug is said to have been fixed by now. In Germany, on the other hand, the two jobs seem to be part of a common portfolio.

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