No, BMW is not making heated seats a subscription for US cars

Enlarge / BMW continues to experiment with subscriptions in markets like the UK and South Korea, but not in the US. (credit: BMW)

If there’s a topic guaranteed to get rage clicks, it’s the one about BMW making some of its car options available as a subscription rather than a one-time purchase. That story is doing the rounds again today after news that the Bavarian automaker is at it again.

BMW starts selling heated seat subscriptions for $18 a month” declares one headline; “BMW Makes Heated Seats an $18/Month Subscription Service—Again” reads another. However, you’d have to read past the headlines and well into the bodies of the articles to find out that, actually, the automaker has no public plans to bring this subscription model here to the US market and that it’s happening in South Korea.

Not that it hasn’t tried such a thing in the past. In 2019, if you wanted Apple CarPlay as an optional extra, you had to subscribe to it for $80 a year, or $300 for 20 years. But the reaction by US consumers to this move was overwhelmingly negative, and, faced with resistance in its second-biggest market, the automaker relented and even made CarPlay standard across most of its range later that year.

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