BMW Australia is considering a subscription fee for Apple CarPlay, potentially following in the footsteps of its American counterpart.
Speaking to CarAdvice at the 2018 Bathurst 12 Hour, Lenore Fletcher, local communications boss for BMW, said the company was in discussions about making customers – who currently pay upfront to have CarPlay fitted – make yearly payments to use the service.
“We’re finding that a lot of our customers really aren’t necessarily interested in taking up that offer (and using CarPlay), or they’re not really using it,” Fletcher said.
“In this case we’re making it (subscription) an option, or we’re considering making it an option, but it would be at a very nominal fee.”
Fletcher argued iDrive already meets most needs, and said the subscription was about giving them a choice.
“We are finding with feedback from our clients that some of them are particularly interested in having CarPlay, and some of them particularly don’t want to have that.
“One of the reasons for that is because the iDrive 6 that’s currently in the vehicles is really quite… totally intuitive to use, and it covers the greater majority of the CarPlay functions.
“We’re finding that a lot of our customers really aren’t interested in taking up that offer, or they’re not really using it.”
Above: BMW doesn’t make you plug your phone in for CarPlay, but it does make you pay.
Although details are still being discussed, the local subscription would likely be yearly. BMW Australia hasn’t landed on a potential fee yet, but the American arm charges US$80 ($100) per year.
There’s no word on whether local buyers would need to pay upfront for the option to be fitted, or whether the subscription charges would be the only cost.
Wireless CarPlay – the only wireless take on the tech in the industry – is currently a $623 option on BMW vehicles. The system (albeit a wired one) is standard in countless entry-level mainstream vehicles, including the Kia Picanto.