Why your credit card bill may someday include subscription fees – for your car

Automakers want to join the subscription economy, and hope to cash in by selling access to everything from navigation to entertainment.

By Shelly BrisbinOctober 14, 2021 9:45 am, ,

If you pay for Netflix, Spotify, or a gaming pass, you’re part of the subscription economy. Your monthly fees boost the bottom lines of businesses, from steaming channels to meal delivery and fitness services. Now, some automakers want to sell monthly subscription services, too.

Tech expert Omar Gallaga told Texas Standard that car companies including Tesla, General Motors and BMW want to provide enhancements to navigation, comfort and entertainment in their vehicles, in exchange for a monthly fee.

Highlights from this segment:

– Tesla, which can be thought of as a software company as well as a car company, already sells a “full self-driving feature that’s enabled by unlocking access via software,” Gallaga said.

– General Motors’ OnStar is a long-standing subscription service. The company wants to build its revenue by adding more subscription offerings.

– BMW received pushback when it tried to charge drivers for access to Apple CarPlay, a free software option supported by the iPhone.