In the near future, turning on the seat heater inside your car on a cold winter day could cost you. For that matter, so could extra horsepower and cruise control.
Major automakers like BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen are planning to alter the way they offer customers extra features in an industry-wide shift toward on-demand services that analysts say could allow carmakers to generate tens of billions of euros in additional profits over the next several years. Automakers envision a future in which customers purchase driving apps, software updates, and even supplementary insurance, all from within their cars.
Carmakers’ financial divisions, which have traditionally drawn rich profits by offering loans to car buyers, are seen as playing a pivotal role in the new strategy since the processing of payments for on-demand features is, by itself, a potentially lucrative new business.