Owners of BMW cars will soon be forking out Ksh.2,100 ($18) every month in order to enjoy the heated seats feature.
This the latest example of the German carmaker’s adoption of micro-transactions for premium car features, having slowly started putting features behind subscriptions in 2020.
Under the new plan, car owners will part with $18 for heated front seats, with options to subscribe for Ksh. 21,000 a year ($180), Ksh.35,000 ($300) for three years, or pay Ksh.49,000 ($415) for “unlimited” access.
Although BMW did not respond to queries of when the subscriptions take effect, some motoring publications in North Korea noticed this week that heated seats and a heated steering wheel popped up as monthly subscriptions on the carmaker’s local site.
US technology website The Verge also spotted the features on the menu for BMW owners in South Africa, Germany and the UK, as well as New Zealand.
How this works is that BMW has put a software block on the heated seats’ functionality which owners will now have to pay to remove.
This comes in the wake of a 2020 announcement that BMW cars’ operating system would allow for micro-transactions on features like automatic high beams and adaptive cruise control.
Some other premium features the luxury automaker has now locked behind subscriptions include automatic high-beam headlights ($12 a month), heated steering wheels, ($12 a month), and adaptive cruise control with lane centering ($42 a month).
The move has elicited mixed reactions online, with many users condemning the move as greedy and exploitative.
BMW previously backtracked on a plan to charge $80 per month for Apple CarPlay in the US following backlash.