It’s no secret that Ford CEO Jim Farley is a big proponent of connected vehicle services, which he believes could net the automaker $20 billion in annual revenue by 2030 via 32 million OTA capable vehicles by 2028. In fact, the automaker has spent the last year plus recruiting folks like former Apple exec Doug Fields for that very purpose, while also rolling out connected vehicle platforms and services for both retail and commercial applications. However, Farley is apparently only willing to go so far when it comes to what Ford charges customers for, as he took a shot at BMW recently for its new heated seat subscription model.
When asked about BMW’s heated seat subscription at the launch of the Ford F-150 Lightning and E-Transit at Sonoma Country Winegrowers yesterday, Farley said that he’d “be surprised if we charged for heated seats,” saying “I don’t think that’s our approach. There will be kind of customized software that you can pick and choose off a menu that would make sense for our commercial customers and retail customers. Maybe dynamic routing or coaching for the driver. I think there’ll be a subscription like we’re used to in content, but it will be customized based on the usefulness of the data.”
These comments are indeed interesting given the fact that automakers are currently working to figure out what sort of subscription services vehicle and fleet owners might be willing to pay for. Aside from BMW’s heated seat subscription plan, Toyota recently batted around the idea of making its key fob-activated remote start function a monthly subscription service as well.
For its part, Ford has thus far rolled out a number of complimentary services, including all features present in the ever-popular FordPass and Lincoln Way apps, such as dealer pickup and delivery, as well as some complimentary services and three-year free trials for other services for fleet owners via Ford Pro. Ford’s new commercial business also recently rolled out the Ford VIIZR Service Tool, which is designed to help companies maximize productivity and customer service, with subscriptions starting out at $39 a month per user.