BMW plans to provide drivers with a temporary or permanent feature upgrade in-car catalog that will allow owners to add features such as driver assistance or comfort technology to their cars, as if it were a subscription service on their phones,media reported. It is reported that the upgraded BMW ConnectedDrive Store will provide features built into the car hardware built into the factory, such as heated seats or advanced cruise control, but because these are not on the original order so that the driver can not use.
This is not a new move for carmakers. In fact, BMW has offered a range of post-purchase upgrade options, including adaptive cruise control, adaptive M suspension system, and more. Now, however, it plans to take the service a step further and provide more flexibility in how to buy features and what is available.
BMW says drivers will have a trial period – possibly a month or three months – after which they will be able to buy one to three years of functionality or even less, a few months. It is unclear whether this means the end of a permanent purchase.
On the face of it, this is a good idea. There is no doubt that in modern cars, having good functions is not essential. Similarly, the choice that seems too long at the time of purchase may become more meaningful after a few months of owning the car, or something like a heated seat will only show its value when winter comes.
Although after-sales upgrades are possible in some cases, they are usually very limited and require cars to be taken to dealers for professional installation. Activating them immediately with a few taps on the app or the car’s own touch screen will definitely make the process smoother.
Of course, BMW isn’t the first company to offer upgrades after delivery. It’s fair to say that Tesla has pioneered this trend, relying on the connected nature of its cars to allow owners to release more energy or get longer range. Of course, it’s much easier for electric cars than squeezing out more horsepower from internal combustion engines.
That’s why other automakers tend to focus on the secondary features of in-car upgrades. For example, Audi will offer a post-purchase market for models such as the Q5, where owners can add navigation and other features to the MIB3 infotainment system. Buyers will be able to purchase a feature permanently, or a feature with a term of 1- to 12 months.
It’s one thing to add features permanently, but it’s another that can lead to confusion. For example, it is unclear whether a car sold halfway through a one-year navigation package subscription service will allow users to shift their use of the service. In fact, there has been a high-profile backlash, with BMW having to reverse its decision when it decided to launch Apple’s CarPlay as a subscription service.
In addition, for BMW, overwriting the ConnectedDrive Store to hardware clearly requires the vehicle to be equipped with hardware from the factory.