BMW in the US is for some bizarre reason charging customers an annual subscription to Apple CarPlay, despite it being standard and free in all sorts of cheap Hyundais, Skodas and the latest Volkswagen Jetta.
CarPlay, an Apple proprietary programme, joins Android Auto as free software on dozens of different 2018 model-year cars across the world. It’s pretty normal to expect it these days… but no one seems to have told BMW USA, which has announced that it’s to cost $80 per year from next year.
Since 2017 it has been charging new BMW buyers a $300 one-off fee for the service, but it aims to make it both cheaper for two-to-three-year leases and more profitable over the life of the car, as used BMW buyers will have to pay the fee as well if they want to use CarPlay.
Talking to The Verge, BMW North America’s technology product manager Don Smith said:
“This allows the customer to switch devices,” [Smith] said. “A lot of people buy [CarPlay] and think it’s okay, but sometimes they stop using it or switch to Android.”
The Verge went on to say:
“Smith said the new plan would be free for the first year of ownership on a new BMW. After that, owners would be asked to pay $80 per year to keep the service. Over the course of a three or four-year lease, it would still work out to less money than the option is now, he said.”
That doesn’t really alter the fact that it should be free on a car of any BMW’s price, in a market where even superminis throw it in with no separate charge.
BMW doesn’t support Android Auto, which could indicate a commercial tie-in with Apple that may trace back to this new charge. We’ll keep our eyes peeled and update this piece if we get further news.