It’s a boon for those who lease BMWs and a bane for those who buy them

BMW is changing the way it offers Apple CarPlay. The German automaker plans to turn Apple CarPlay into a subscription service instead of the current format of charging owners $300 to add the capability to navigation-equipped BMW models. Moving forward, BMW owners with navigation-equipped models won’t have to pay for the service in the first year of their subscription. There is a catch, though. Once that first year lapses, owners will need to pay an annual fee of $80 to maintain the service.

2017 BMW 5 Series High Resolution Interior
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Instead of paying $300, they only stand to pay $160 for the service over a three-year lease and $240 over a four-year lease

On the surface, customers who lease BMW models over a period of three to four years stand to benefit from the new subscription service. Instead of paying $300, they only stand to pay $160 for the service over a three-year lease and $240 over a four-year lease. Sounds great, right? It would be if it weren’t for the long-term reality that lies ahead for those who actually buy their BMWs.

Should a customer buy a BMW and keep it for longer than five years, they’ll end up paying more than the current payment option of $300. Do the math. They get the first year free and have to pay $80 for every succeeding year. Based on those numbers, a customer who buys a BMW and keeps it for five years will end up paying $320 for Apple CarPlay capability. Those who buy a Bimmer and keep it for ten years will pay $720 for the service. That’s more than double the amount they would’ve paid under the current option.

If that’s not bad enough, the fact that BMW even charges its customers for Apple CarPlay already runs counter to industry standards. All other automakers offer the service as a standard or optional feature that spans the entire life of the vehicle. For other companies, Apple CarPlay is a lot like a sunroof; for BMW, it’s a way to make a quick buck.

There are pros and cons to this decision depending on whether you’re buying or leasing a BMW. Maybe it’s the German automaker’s way of adding more value to leasing Bimmers while hoping that those who buy them won’t mind paying extra for a service that should’ve come free of charge from the very beginning. What do you think?

References

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