One of the biggest new features that many automakers implemented in the last decade is the over-the-air update. Essentially, automakers wanted customers to be able to update their car remotely, from their driveways. However, as warned before, some of these updates could also come with subscription fees for features like the heated seats or automatic high-beams. BMW of South Korea is one of the first to implement a subscription model for the popular Heated Seats option. ( (It appears they’ve since been removed.)
Heated Seats For $18/month
In South Korea, BMW customers can now pay a monthly fee to unlock the Heated Seats feature in their cars. For around $18, at current exchange rates, Korean customers can enjoy the luxury of heated seats. Alternatively, they can get a one-year plan for $176 or a three-year subscription for $283.
This particular feature is available as a download item in the local BMW ConnectedDrive Store which also houses a wide range of apps. As you’d expect, the software update is sent to the car over the air, therefore, no visit to the local dealership is required. BMW of South Korea also include a one-month free trial, with the option to purchase the Heated Seats permanently for $406.
Multiple Subscriptions Offered
Other OTA upgrades include a Heated Steering Wheel for $10/month, or $222 to purchase it outright. Apple Carplay? $305. Furthermore, customers will have access to a high-beam assistant, Active Cruise Control (ACC) driver assistance system with Stop & Go function, and the Driver Recorder. Electric cars were not forgotten either. The IconicSounds Sport is a feature that can be added to your electric BMW for $138.
Of course, BMW is not the first automaker to implement this business model. Tesla pioneered it and was shortly followed by other automakers as well. In 2019, BMW of North America abandoned a plan to charge $80 per year for Apple CarPlay after widespread pushback. So it remains to be seen whether this new business model will return to the United States.