Automakers are falling in love with subscriptions

Not everyone is happy about the new pricing model.

Sometimes what seems like a genius pricing strategy can be a royal pain in the a** for customers.

“Feature gating” has been a staple of B2B software pricing strategy for years.

On the consumer side, video games like “World of Warcraft” and “Fortnite” monetize through microtransactions of digital goods or for access to new features in games that you already own.

Now the auto world wants in

Automakers are increasingly gating features, too, requiring car owners to pay subscription fees to access certain functions.

BMW recently made waves for offering access to several features, like heated seats, through paid monthly subscriptions.

Tesla did this, too, when it launched a monthly subscription for full self-driving functionality last year.

Automakers are also offering other kinds of subscription packages:

  • In 2017, Porsche launched a subscription service giving drivers access to a range of vehicles for $2k+ per month.
  • In 2020, Volvo launched an all-in-one subscription service that included rental fees, service, maintenance, and in-car wifi.

Unsurprisingly, not everyone is happy about this.

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