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BMW's attempt to charge for already installed heated seats shows there's a balance to be struck

One of the more unpopular moves in the automotive industry in recent times was BMW’s attempt to charge customers to ‘activate’ hardware options that were already fitted in their cars, such as heated seats.

“People feel that they paid double – which was actually not true, but perception is reality, I always say,” BMW sales and marketing chief Pieter Nota told Autocar last month. “So that was the reason we stopped that.”

Instead, the firm will focus on charging for software upgrades, which BMW has also experienced bad press with before when it tried to charge £295 to access the in-built Apple CarPlay functionality, a move it also reversed.

This time, Nota said the likes of “driving assistance and parking assistance” features will be available for buyers to upgrade to, something Nota says “customers are used to paying for in other areas”.

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