The automaker is now charging $105 a year for the remote start in the US.
Four other features are also available for subscription directly in the infotainment system.
These features can be bought outright or subscribed to for 1 month, 1 year, or 3 years.
Despite pushback from some car buyers, BMW still believes in its new subscription model for optional extras.
This new business model began last year when the company decided to make heated seats available via subscription to buyers in South Korea, but it has now reached North America.
Indeed, BMW announced that remote start will be purchasable through its vehicle’s infotainment systems, along with four other options which are the Drive Recorder, the Traffic Camera, Driving Assistance Plus, and Parking Assistant Professional.
Fortunately for some, the automaker offers a one-time payment option that does away with recurring fees for most of the features.
For example, drivers who want the capability to have their 2019 or newer BMW equipped with a 4 or 6-cylinder engine warm up in the winter before they step outside will be faced with a number of payment options for remote start.
If they want to buy the feature outright, they will have to spend $330, but they could also subscribe to it for three years at a cost of $250, one year for $105, or even one month for $10.
Despite what it may seem like, this way of paying for features could be profitable for many buyers.
Indeed, customers who use remote start only about six months per year could choose to pay only $60 for this period, which means they could use the feature for over five years before it costs them more than buying it outright, after which time many owners will have moved on to a newer vehicle anyway.
The same thinking applies to the Driving Assistant Plus with Stop & Go, which is offered for a single payment of $950 or increments of $20, $210, and $580 for a month, a year, or three years or use respectively.
Choosing the one-month subscription four or five times a year ahead of long highway trips could be profitable for drivers who don’t intend on owning their vehicle for more than about 10 years.
The Parking Assistant Professional can now be used after a payment of $220 or a three-year fee of $130. Yearly and monthly fees are set at $50 and $5 respectively.
Not every feature offers the same range of payment options, however, since the Drive Recorder can not be purchased a month at a time, leaving only the outright purchase, three years, and one-year options at a price of $149, $99, and $39.
Furthermore, the Traffic Camera, a feature that points out speed cameras to drivers, is only available as a $ 25-a-year subscription, with no way to own the feature outright.
This limited range of features available through the subscription model is likely a test to gauge the public’s reaction in the U.S. since many more features are part of this model in other markets, such as heated seats, the heated steering wheel, Apple CarPlay, and even the Adaptive M Suspension.
It will be interesting to see if buyers see this as an opportunity for them to save money on optional features by paying for them only when they intend to use them, or rather as a way for BMW to make more money on sold vehicles.
This last impression could be reinforced if the automaker decides to deactivate all of these options on pre-owned vehicles until new owners pay for them again, but we don’t know if this will be the case yet.