Home » When Is It OK to Charge A Subscription Fee For Access To A Feature That Already Exists In Your Car?

When Is It OK to Charge A Subscription Fee For Access To A Feature That Already Exists In Your Car?

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As you surely read in today’s Morning Constitutional, Mercedes will be offering a more-horsepower option (“Accelation Increase On-Demand,” catchy) for the EQE 350 and EQS 450 electric sedans and SUVs. And what kind of bolt-ons does one apply to an EV to boost power, you ask? The answer is none, not even a cold-air intake (which would feed what, exactly? No idea). No, ’tis merely a few lines of code enabling the extra-cost performance. The required battery and motor capability is already in the car you paid for (are paying for. Or leasing?), but you have to submit additional monies to MB to access it. Which you can do as a monthly or annual subscription, or pony up and go for the Lifetime of Vehicle option to the tune of $1,950 (EQE 350) or $2,950 (EQS 450).

That is a bit nuts, if you ask me. [Editor’s Note: BMW did essentially the same thing with its BMW 320i and 328i gasoline cars. Just a software flash and you could get more horsepower! -DT] If the car can do a thing, it should be enabled to do the thing, I say. From day one, for the cost of buying the car. Or, perhaps your thinking is closer to that of our very own Patrick George – an extremely intelligent, insightful, and wrong man:

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I actually don’t think this is a terrible deal! You pay less than a grand per year to make your Mercedes go a full second quicker 0-60 mph. Tuning a gas Mercedes to do that would be a lot more expensive, probably, when you include parts, labor, time and so on. -PG)

So, what do you think of Mercedes’ subscription plan? When does a subscription for tech already built into your car make sense? Feel free to get into BMW’s subscription shenanigans as well as the subscription plans of any other offender … er novel marketers offering consumers more choices you wish to discuss. We’ll see you in the comments– right after we peruse some your replies to our last Ask: Which Current Car Model Would You Kill To Resurrect An Old One?

Autopian Answers Transp

Oh hey, it’s our pal Stef Schrader! She’s got good Mitsubishi and BMW takes and an Aliens reference, so she’s in. And for those of you who rapid-fired a bunch of great calls like CivoLee: clearly it’s not the first time you’ve thought about this, and we respect the passion.

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Stef Kill Kill

Are people really calling the Subaru Ascent the Ass Scent? Harsh. But yes: we’d happily kill it to bring back the Baja. And Saturn as an EV brand in exchange for Buick, as Myk-El suggests? I’d pull that trigger. Only in the States though. Not in China.

Ass Scent Buick

A bunch of you including Drew and nemebean had “Out with the new, in with the old” takes – which are pretty good takes, TBH. Never drove the old Juke, but I liked seeing ’em.

Ranger Juke

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Protodite, lowwall: we feel you. And speaking of the MPV, this is essential Multi Purpose Vehicle reading.

Saab Mpv

 

 

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Ricki
Ricki
9 months ago

We’re somewhere between Cars As A Service and gacha lootboxes shaped like cars. This dystopia sucks. Can’t wait til we can pay four grand for a random (minor) upgrade.

Sklooner
Sklooner
9 months ago

I can just see getting stuck in the snow and an email arrives ‘Upgrade your traction control today !! One use $249.99 five for $1000- note subscription expires in thirteen months

Goof
Goof
9 months ago
Reply to  Sklooner

That’s totally unrealistic.

It’d be a 7 month subscription so it has no chance of still being active the next winter when you might need it again.

Last edited 9 months ago by Goof
Grey alien in a beige sedan
Grey alien in a beige sedan
9 months ago

Just wait until the car companies take the same approach as SiriusXM…. Make that 80hp bump in the EQS $5.99/mo for the first 6 months, then automatically go back to full price for month 7. Make your customers call every so often to re-haggle a reasonable price for an unreasonable concept. Suffice it to say, I no longer subscribe to SXM – I have spotify premium, which works away from the car as well and I can make my own damn playlists, thank you.

JDE
JDE
9 months ago

Navigation Fee, Satellite radio fee, maybe Lo-Jack vehicle location fee, outside of that I would rather not have the cost of the added equipment be present.

Preston Tiegs
Preston Tiegs
9 months ago

IMO its okay to charge subscription for things that use cloud services and server space. ie, “self-driving features” (very intentionally in quotes)

These services cost the automaker money for years after the initial purchase, so it makes sense that we should pay for the ongoing feature.

Charging for hardware features like heated seats is crazy

TXJeepGuy
TXJeepGuy
9 months ago
Reply to  Preston Tiegs

Absolutely this.

First Last
First Last
9 months ago

This is genius! Can’t wait for this MBA masterstroke to catch on in other industries too. In fact, before I sell my house, I’m going to set up the electrical system so the entire fuse box is wifi-controlled by me, the seller. Buyer: “but I own the house!” Me: “Sure, but if you want cold food you better pay that kitchen outlets fee! If you think it’s too much as a stand-alone subscription I’ll give you access to your laundry room power, garage door opener and your entire kitchen in a single package! Think of all the money you’ll save!”

Seth Albaum
Seth Albaum
9 months ago

Subscriptions to faster acceleration… silly but shouldn’t be regulated. Let people “vote with their wallets.”

Subscriptions to anything remotely safety related should be forbidden by the NHTSA.

Barry Allen
Barry Allen
9 months ago

It’s called “rent seeking”

Eva
Eva
9 months ago

For as long as its an option, Im not paying a subscription to hardware that is already on the car. I’ll pony up for satellite radio and maybe some infotainment functionality but that’s it. Greedy bastards will have to pinch their pennies off someone else, shit like this is an utter joy suck out of the driving experience.

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