What is Happening?
Earlier this month BMW announced that several features of its all-new Operating System 7 are planned to be delivered by a subscription model.
BMW has dabbled with charging subscriptions for features before but the business model was quickly adjusted as customers complained.
While the company is vague on pricing, it appears that features like driver assistance systems, augmented sports exhaust sounds, adaptive cruise control and heated seats could be offered on a subscription basis.
This is also not a first for the automotive industry. Tesla famously offers over-the-air features, but as Jalopnik reported in February, this isn’t always a perfect process from owner to owner. According to the Jalopnik, a customer purchased a used Tesla Model S that was equipped with Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self Driving Capability (features worth US $8,000) only to find that both were removed from the car during a software update without his permission.
What Does it Mean?
While BMW says that owners can "benefit in advance from the opportunity to try out the products for a trial period of one month", it may be a sign of what is to come for connected cars.
Key questions still remain regarding how this type of model will work for used cars, how it will affect modified cars, whether it will create a new type of jailbreaker and if genuinely benefits the consumer.