BMW announces that some software and hardware options will soon be sold on a subscription basis offering more flexibility to drivers
BMW announces that some software and hardware options will soon be sold on a subscription basis. According to BMW, this new way of marketing these options, inspired by Tesla's business model, offers more flexibility to drivers. The German brand is also announcing a software update unlocking certain functions such as the dematerialized key announced by Apple.
BMW issued an informative press release on the occasion of the Connected Car Beta Days, a series of online conferences to showcase the brand's newest additions to the ecosystem. Functional new features on the one hand, but also commercial novelties on the other. Indeed, new rules have been announced by BMW regarding the marketing of certain options. And it will certainly not be to everyone's taste.
Indeed, BMW is announcing the upcoming arrival of subscription-basedoptions. These are options that are often software-based, but can also be hardware-based, as can be the case with Tesla, which drivers activate on demand. Several examples are cited, but the list is not limited to them: you'll find driving assistance called Active Cruise Control (AutoPilot type), you'll find automatic high beam activation (in addition to automatic headlight activation), IconicSounds Sport engine noise action, the Driver Recorder logbook recorder, or Adaptive M Suspension active suspensions.
BMW wants to make every car profitable in the long term
The activation of these options will be software, even in the case of hardware options. This means that you could buy a car with many inactive options. According to BMW, the idea is to provide more flexibility. This means that after buying a car, if you want an option, you just have to download the possible files and validate the activation. That's it! In addition, some options are interesting in summer and others in winter. Paying for them when they are useful is therefore not inconsistent. Especially since BMW will offer a trial period before billing the customer.
However, behind this desire for flexibility for users, BMW is unveiling a commercial strategy where the car will make money over a longer period of time. Much longer even. Today, you buy options all at once. If you resell the car, you resell it with its options. Tomorrow, you continue to pay BMW for the options you choose. And the next owner of the car, who has so far earned nothing for BMW, will do the same: he will choose the options to be activated and deactivated according to his preferences. And so on and so forth.
Some observers and journalists compare this initiative to BMW's when some of its models became CarPlay compatible. The German brand saw fit to market this connectivity by subscription, causing a wave of discontent. Since then, the brand has been "offering" CarPlay connectivity. The success of the new subscription options will depend on the options involved and the price. BMW has not yet communicated these details.
New free version of iDrive
In the second part of the press release, BMW announces the arrival of an update for all vehicles compatible with the iDrive 7.0 system (including the BMW 5 Series). This free update unlocks compatibility with Android Auto, extensively upgrades the onboard computer's integrated PDA and activates the Cloud Key feature presented by Apple at the WWDC 2020.
This update also includes BMW Maps, a completely new navigation assistant enriched with map data stored in the cloud. This means that the software benefits from real-time updated information to calculate a route based on updated elements (such as road traffic). An interesting feature of BMW Maps is that it provides information on available parking spaces in car parks, including those where an electric car can be recharged.
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