BMW continues to irritate its customers, wants to make them pay again and again for cars bought long ago
23.3.2023 | Petr Prokopec
Some time ago, the Bavarian car company looked up at the possibility of milking its clientele repeatedly for one and the same thing, but until now it was satisfied with a couple of payments. As you can see, there is apparently no limit to the number of repetitions.
BMW is a car company that, on the one hand, makes us happy. Unlike many other manufacturers, it is not aiming for full electrification and openly says that combustion engines will play a large role in its offer in the next decade as well. And it also counts with hydrogen. Therefore, each customer should continue to choose according to his taste, although it is questionable how much free choice will be preserved in Europe. However, since Brussels will most likely give the green light to synthetic fuels, such a BMW M3 could still be available in fifteen years, although probably a hybrid.
However, however much the car company has caught our eye by opening many back doors, we do not remain blind and deaf to its next steps. They are no longer so sympathetic, especially the attempt to “milk” the owner of the same car repeatedly caused a lot of controversy. Of course, it should be added that not only BMW is heading in this direction, but practically the entire industry. However, the Munich team decided to test how far they could go right from the start. In some markets, they also charged for seat heating, which you actually pay for when you buy the car, because all the hardware is on board. However, in order for the button to activate the heating itself to appear in the menu, you have to pay again – gradually every month or every year, even once, but definitely a second time
But that obviously won’t be the end. As colleagues from Auto Evolution found out, BMW started offering the Driving Assistance Professional package for some of its models, which also includes the Highway Assistant function. This enables semi-autonomous driving, but only on mapped highway sections. So you can’t even activate it in many places. In the States, the brand charges a whopping 2,100 USD (approx. 46,000 crowns) for it. However, the price itself is not the point of contention, at least not without additional information.
The automaker states that the system will only be active eight years after its purchase. What happens next is not clearly stated, but the small print additions say it all. BMW says that “there will be additional purchase options” and while it’s not clear whether you’ll have to pay again for the same thing once or regularly, just like you’ll be paying again for the third time with those seats. First you buy a car with the appropriate technology, then you activate it for 8 years just by removing the software restrictions, and then you have to wait again. And again and again and again..?
A spokesperson for the automaker said that “in our opinion, this is a very competitive offer, as manufacturers of similar systems only offer activation for three years.” However, he forgot to add that for many brands this step is not associated with any additional payment. The same should have been the case with BMW, especially since the models (X5, X6, XM, iX and Series 7) equipped with the Highway Assistant function do not start under two million crowns in any case. That is, with us.
As it seems, this controversy is not connected with Europe, at least not yet. But that really means nothing, for example, those payments for heated seats started in Korea and Russia, today this option is available almost everywhere. In this way, the car company continues to provoke its customers and try what they will like when they say enough with paying. Apparently that hasn’t happened yet…
BMW supplies the elements needed for semi-autonomous driving in its cars, but activation is a matter of additional payment. However, this function will only be available for eight years, after which customers will have to pay another, actually third payment for the same car. Illustration photo: BMW
Source: Auto Evolution
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