BMW puts the brakes on CarPlay subscription fee in UK

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2020
BMW has backed off from its decision to charge a monthly subscription for access to Apple CarPlay in some car infotainment systems in the United Kingdom, though while some will be able to access it for free, others may still have to pay for the option.




BMW has offered Apple CarPlay integration in its range of vehicles since 2016, but only as a one-time add-on option. The company then made plans to charge drivers an annual fee of $80 per year to continue gaining access after an initial free year, but it seems the fallout from the subscription has forced the car maker to change its mind.

Previously, the one-time add-on cost US drivers $300 per vehicle.

A spokesperson advised to Autocar, UK cars running BMW's latest operating system for its infotainment system will offer access to CarPlay free for the lifetime of the vehicle. Previously British drivers of the vehicles received a free year's subscription, then would be prompted to pay GBP 85 ($111) per year.

For models that run earlier versions, including the i3, i8, 2 Series, and 4 Series, they will have to pay a lifetime subscription fee of GBP 235 ($307), representing a discount of GBP 60 from the earlier price.

Customers who have previously paid for a year's subscription for models that are not subject to the annual fee will be offered a free unlimited subscription, but it is unclear if they will receive a refund.

BMW originally framed the subscription option as being more flexible than the lump sum activation method, as it allowed users to more easily switch from using an iPhone to an Android smartphone or vice versa, without being locked in to just one or paying twice. At the same time, the annual subscription opens up the prospect of drivers paying out hundreds or thousands of dollars more over the life of the vehicle's ownership.

BMW has also defended the annual and lifetime fees for CarPlay due to the demands of ongoing software testing and engineering to avoid conflicts, something made harder by the support for wireless connections.

While Apple does require some base specifications for a car producer to include CarPlay support in its infotainment systems, such as the inclusion of a touchscreen, the company does not charge car manufacturers at all for the software.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37
    I know it’s hyperbole, but BMW CarPlay subscription is exactly what ruined BMW as a brand.
    entropyscat52StrangeDaysanantksundaramwatto_cobralostkiwicornchiprazorpitCarnagellama
  • Reply 2 of 37
    Now if we can just get BMW to enable fullscreen Apple CarPlay in its Mini line, all may be forgiven!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 37
    Now if we can just get BMW to enable fullscreen Apple CarPlay in its Mini line, all may be forgiven!
    Or give you the option to unlock it on a MINI that is fully capable of supporting it via the installed system, but was 'saved' for the mid-year update to the vehicle line.
    Gabywatto_cobracornchiprazorpitdoozydozen
  • Reply 4 of 37
    How ironic ... My warranty on my M3 is expiring in 2 1//2 months. Yesterday, I told the salesperson at the dealership who called me about a new car that as long as they charged for CarPlay I would never buy another BMW. The subscription move is beyond insulting. The Bavarian clowns that thought this one up should be looking for new jobs. Perhaps Ford will hire them to work on their planned reintroduction of the Edsel.
    caladaniancat52JWSClostkiwiCarnagellama
  • Reply 5 of 37
    I did not know it was a subscription. I thought it was another EU tax on American Tech companies
    cat52tommikelewatto_cobranewBelieverrazorpitdoozydozen
  • Reply 6 of 37
    I don't have a BMW (maybe in the future), but I hope this change in policy moves over to the USA as well.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 37
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    For those castigating BMW, the market will decide whether a subscription will fly or not. BMW can ask for whatever they want and owners will either take it leave it. Just like the tired old tripe about the Apple tax and Apple products being overpriced, those who scream the loudest are those who typically can’t afford the “overpriced” premium product so they invent reasons it’s not worth it.
    watto_cobraspaceagechemengin1
  • Reply 8 of 37
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,899member
    I can pay $80-$100 every 2-3 years for updates to acquire new features but not like subscription. Better option is merge CarPlay infotainment updates into other wireless data access package as subscription. Carplay alone as subscription won't work.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 37
    BebeBebe Posts: 145member
    No way I am paying for a subscription to use CarPlay.  An update, maybe.
    StrangeDaysdoozydozen
  • Reply 10 of 37
    BMW is the most nickel-and-diming car company in the world. One of the main reasons I switched to an Audi.
    entropysdavgregStrangeDaystommikelewatto_cobralostkiwirazorpitdoozydozen
  • Reply 11 of 37
    I still don't understand why this isn't just rolled into the cost of the vehicle, the price would be invisible to the end buyer and they wouldn't have to deal with this disastrous PR.
    caladanianwatto_cobralostkiwispaceagemuthuk_vanalingamdoozydozen
  • Reply 12 of 37
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 1,031member
    The Ultimate Hype Machine has become the very thing it once lampooned in ads. Sad, but true.

    It is obscene to charge for CarPlay. My 2016 VW Golf and My 2019 VW Alltrack both came with it standard. In fact, VW has had CarPlay standard on all models since 2016.

    The fact that Crapillac (ad says “available” CarPlay in the overpriced Chevy SUVs it sells) and BMW charge for the interface on their already overpriced cars and trucks tells you the state of greed in the car business these days.
    edited December 2019 watto_cobrarazorpit
  • Reply 13 of 37
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,203member
    Now if we can just get BMW to enable fullscreen Apple CarPlay in its Mini line, all may be forgiven!
    I don’t know.  As far as their computer interface goes, BMW has a lot to be forgiven for.  Ultimate driving machine, yes.  Ultimate mobile computing platform: a resounding no.

    But I do agree, full screen would be fantastic for CarPlay or otherwise.
    edited December 2019 StrangeDayswatto_cobralostkiwi
  • Reply 14 of 37
    entropysentropys Posts: 4,125member
    I still don't understand why this isn't just rolled into the cost of the vehicle, the price would be invisible to the end buyer and they wouldn't have to deal with this disastrous PR.
    The “price” is zero. Apple and google do not charge a fee.

    BMW always try to up sell. This is just example eleventy zillion. 
    StrangeDayswatto_cobralostkiwirazorpit
  • Reply 15 of 37
    I went back and forth between the BMW 550 (which I really liked) and another slightly more expensive car. In the end, the CarPlay subscription made me feel negatively about the BMW brand and I bought the other car. I spent more than I would've with the BMW plus the subscription but I feel like I'll get the kind of relationship I want with the other car mfg.

    Now I just have to wait 2-3 weeks for my new car to get delivered. 
    watto_cobralostkiwi
  • Reply 16 of 37
    cars running BMW's latest operating system for its infotainment system will offer access to CarPlay free for the lifetime of the vehicle. 
    You mean I can keep running software that originates from my device and uses the car's head unit as an external touch-monitor? Oh thank ye, kind sirs, thank ye!
    watto_cobralostkiwiRayz2016
  • Reply 17 of 37
    BMW may backtrack on this for now, but don't expect that to last.

    Subscription-based services and features are the future.

    At work, we used to buy AutoCAD and keep it for years until it became obsolete. Now, you can no longer buy it - you can only rent it. When you stop paying, it stops working. Same for Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop and Acrobat and Quicken and the list goes on.

    Beginning with the 2019 RDX, Acura no longer includes keyfob-based remote start...on a $50K SUV. Remote start is now app-based and requires an $110/year subscription to keep it working.
    watto_cobralostkiwi
  • Reply 18 of 37
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,043member
    I got a suggestion for BMW, they claim the fee is to pay for maintaining and testing the software. How about just loading the software Apple provide to enable the feature and leave it alone. 

    BMW does not have good reputation on fixing their software. I had my ECU and other module software updated by BMW only to have more problems than the update was suppose to fix. I got to the point any time I took my BMW in for servicing I told them they did not have my permission to update any of its software. I could only do this once the car was out of warranty, they would tell you if they did not update the software they would not warranty the car beyond that point. since some update were done to improve the reliability of various systems in the car.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 37
    I know German car companies charge for each and every option, and no one buys the base model. The only thing that comes free is the air inside the cabin. But seriously, CarPlay is not even their own software they make. I never understood how they charged any fee at all to enable it, and then they changed it to become a subscription! I used to drool after BMWs, but no longer. Now I'm just sad to see them dragging their feet in modernizing their cars. This goes along with their EV options. The i3 was ok for its time, but then we've just been seeing a press release every few months for something coming up. 
    watto_cobralostkiwianantksundaram
  • Reply 20 of 37
    lkrupp said:
    For those castigating BMW, the market will decide whether a subscription will fly or not. BMW can ask for whatever they want and owners will either take it leave it. Just like the tired old tripe about the Apple tax and Apple products being overpriced, those who scream the loudest are those who typically can’t afford the “overpriced” premium product so they invent reasons it’s not worth it.
    Would you like me to send you a picture of me in my car holding today's newspaper?

    That pompous act may fly in your domicile, but you need to learn to keep it there.

    It appears the market has decided or did you miss that part of the article?
    edited December 2019 MplsPJWSCuraharaanantksundaramCarnage
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