Consumers Are Actually Very Willing To Pay For In-Car Subscriptions

Kevin Williams
by Kevin Williams

Would you be willing to pay for a subscription?

With the advent of the electric, connected car, manufacturers have been scrambling to make up revenue in new ways. Electric cars aren’t all that complicated, don’t need expensive fluid changes, and generally will drive a long, long time without any major servicing. Thus, automakers have tried to switch to subscription services for vehicle features as a way to make up for some of that lost cash.

The consensus on the internet has been that subscription services are not good, and no sane driver would ever pay for that. Yet, a new survey from S&P Global shows that a lot of consumers are willing to pay subscription services for vehicle features. Well, sort of – consumers will buy things that add value, but other features that they feel overlap too much with their smartphone, or do not make sense, they won’t pay for.

S&P Global surveyed 8,000 consumers and learned that “Once consumers experience connected services, they are overwhelmingly satisfied and likely to resubscribe.” Out of 4,500 of those respondents who had experienced either an existing subscription service or free trial, S&P Global found that 82% of them would probably or definitely consider subscription-based services in their next vehicle.

This all may sound a little grim for the folks who think they’ll soon be nickel and dimed for features that were once free. For what it’s worth, the survey stated that BMW’s heated seats and heated steering wheel subscriptions weren’t very popular. However, upgraded safety and driver assistance features like high beam assist and driving video recording scored the highest satisfaction percentage of 89%.

The study also found that consumers would be willing to let an automaker access their data if that meant getting a feature for free. The connected car future is going to look a lot different from what we’re used to, that’s for sure.

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Kevin Williams
Kevin Williams

Kevin has been obsessed with cars ever since he could talk. He even learned to read partially by learning and reading the makes and models on the back of cars, only fueling his obsession. Today, he is an automotive journalist and member of the Automotive Press Association. He is well-versed in electrification, hybrid cars, and vehicle maintenance.

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 1 comment
  • Ninja250 Ninja250 on Dec 23, 2023

    Glad to hear S&P Global found 8000 individuals willing to stroke manufacturer's egos by finding "data" that subscriptions are a good idea. As for myself, I'd be willing to pay a small fee to decontent all the annoying electronics in modern cars. This includes those giant video screens, "touch" control surfaces, and 90% of the "driver assistance features". Here's the list of what I need: speedometer, tachometer, oil pressure gauge (if ICE), voltmeter, AM/FM Radio with USB port, manual heat/air conditioning (with rotary knobs), manually adjustable seats (really, how often do you change positions?), disk brakes with anti-lock, either cloth seats or real leather (but not plastic, vegan, or whatever). Sounds like a throwback to 1970? You bet. It was a time when a new car was affordable for most people and all the fancy crap on today's cars was aspirational and something to be enjoyed after that "big promotion". The last new car I bought was in 2011, for which I paid cash. Today, there are no "cars". only SUV's and trucks that are totally unaffordable. Not to worry, I can wait a long time for the industry to "wake-up". And who knows, maybe BYD will find a way to sell their little electric Seagull city vehicle in the U.S. for a price close to what they charge in China. It looks and sounds interesting...