GM is studying customer subscription habits to add fees to future cars

GM is studying customer subscription habits to add fees to future cars

In July, luxury automaker BMW began selling some eye-catching new subscription-based services in various countries, including charging drivers $18 per month for heated seats and $10 per month for a heated steering wheel, features that critics argued should be standard.

General Motors assured investors on Thursday that it does not intend to charge customers for these features, but it is certain that vehicle software and the microtransactions it will allow, such as paying for cloud-based services, will be the biggest business for GM going forward compared to selling the hardware − the car − now.

Earlier this year, GM said that software-as-a-service will generate $20-25 billion annually in revenue by 2030. To get there, GM has hundreds of data scientists already studying consumer behavior and promises that there will be more subscription services on GM vehicles and is looking at ways to tie the sale of a car to software services or to other new GM businesses, such as GM’s auto insurance through OnStar.

Alan Wexler, GM's senior vice president of innovation and growth.

“I wouldn’t expect us to charge someone $18 for heated seats. We are very much in touch with our customers and where they find value. We know that when it comes to features like safety or standard features, our customers expect that to be included in the vehicle,” said Alan Wexler, GM’s senior vice president of strategy and innovation. “As much as we can standardize hardware in the vehicle. and then unlock features with software, we will.”

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