Monday, June 24, 2024

Auto Companies Scheme over Charging Subscriptions for Basic Features

'I think the general view is that this isn’t going anywhere... '

(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) The increasing trend for automotive manufacturers to require paid subscriptions, also known as “features on demand,” for basic vehicle functions upset a vast majority of customers, many of whom said they would even go as far as switching car brands to avoid the additional fees.

According to Breitbart, a recent survey found that 69% of customers do not want to pay additional fees for their car’s added features, such as heated seats.

The survey also revealed that while 75% of people said the features on demand would increase profits for automotive companies, many of them said the subscription-based model would present several challenges for businesses.

“I think the general view is that this isn’t going anywhere because most [automakers] have seen this as a significant revenue source and that’s not just luxury brands,” commented Alistair Weaver, editor in chief of the automotive research firm Edmunds.

BMW introduced the payment method for heated seats in nearly all of their vehicles, causing backlash within their customer base, as many of them did not want to have to pay for features already built into their vehicle.

Tesla is currently testing a similar payment system for Autopilot and their fully-autonomous driving systems. Mercedes and Toyota started using subscription-based feature plans for small add-ons such as additional power for electric vehicles and access to app perks.

Toyota implemented a free trial system for customers to test the paid features for a month before committing to a payment plan. Sixty-five percent of those surveyed said a free trial would likely make them reconsider paying for the subscription.

“I don’t think [features on demand] is going away,” said Weaver, “and also as the cars get more and more sophisticated, get more and more functionality, then it just feels like a natural progression.”

Several companies are implementing automated technologies into their new lines of vehicles. Ford announced that their partial or fully autonomous vehicles will be able to cut off features such as radio or air conditioning, or even drive themselves to a repossession agency, if the owner misses a payment.

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