Car Companies Will Charge Subscriptions for Even Basic Services

Automologist MAC longs for the day when you didn’t have to pay for what you already paid for. 

We the Sheeple have allowed big tech to invade our bank accounts by stealth. I doubt there are many of you who do not have some sort of monthly subscription for the TV you watch, the music you listen to, the software you run, the AI you liaise with. Little by little, we have allowed this insidious creep into our bank accounts so that we end up paying for services that used to be free or so very much more for things we used to pay a one-off fee for.

Your car is now very firmly the target of the next wave of subscription services. BMW has already drawn a lot of flack for charging a subscription for the seat-heater, regardless of the fact that it was in your car when you bought it and just needed a software command, and you now have to pay for monthly to turn it on. Having to pay for stuff that is already there and should have been in the purchase price is a little rich to me.
They are not the only ones either. Back in the day, if you wanted to have a more powerful engine, you bought a car with more power or you went to your local tuner shop and paid a one-off fee to add things and get the car remapped. Not now. Mercedes has announced that owners of the EQ series can pay a subscription to unlock an extra 60hp for the small monthly fee of USD60. The thing is, the power is already there—you are paying for something that you have already paid for surely.

Toyota, not wanting to be left out of the game, is charging a subscription for the use of their cloud-based music service. Okay, so here you are utilising some additional items that are literally not in/on the car but up in the cloud. However, has no one told them about CarPlay and Spotify (two of the subscription services that I have been forced to get by my kids). Are they gonna charge us to connect our phone to the infotainment system?

For me, enough is enough. I am fed up with being constantly gouged for the use of software and programming which carries adverts. I am fed up with having to pay extra for services where I have no choice of vendor for that service/feature. When do we get to the point where we are asked if we would like to continue with the so-so brakes or upgrade to the good ones for only USD19.99 per month?! Come on, you automakers out there, it is hard enough already to afford a car without subjecting our bank accounts to the relentless onslaught of subscriptions.

I understand the cost-cutting streamlining argument whereby it is easy and cheaper for the car company to build all their cars with the heated seat, only turning on those that pay the subscription but hey, the heated seat is there. It will cost you no more to make it a free item, so why make me pay for it each and every month?

This is why the days before Software Defined Vehicles (SDV), when the car company could perform Over the Air Update (OTA), were so much better. Yes, this Luddite preferred the analog days and long for the times when you bought it, then you owned it, end of story!

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