Ford Authority

New Car Buyers Skeptical About Subscription Services: Study

Like most automakers these days, Ford is betting big on subscription services, which it sees as a major source of future revenue. However, while some brands like BMW opt to charge new car buyers for things like heated seats and GM is aiming to ditch Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in its EVs to increase revenue sources, Ford won’t be following suit, instead choosing to charge for things that new car buyers may actually want to pay for, like BlueCruise. But while Blue Oval fleet customers are embracing this approach, some retail consumers aren’t so thrilled with it, and now, a new study from Cox Automotive has found that most new car buyers are skeptical about subscription services in general.

This new study polled 2,000 new car shoppers in December and January, seeking to determine their level of interest in futures available via subscription services. Ultimately, it found that very few of those customers – just 21 percent – are even aware that subscription services are a thing in the automotive world, while 41 percent said they are interested in paying for such features. However, 58 percent believe that these features are too expensive.

On the same token, around 75 percent of those polled believe that subscription services exist to make automakers more money, while 69 percent said they would look elsewhere if certain features are only available via a subscription. However, 65 percent indicated that a free trial would make them more likely to consider a particular brand. Interestingly, those considering purchasing a new Ford vehicle were among the most likely to do so because of the presence of “Features on Demand,” as Cox Automotive calls them.

“Our initial research indicates that the transition to Features on Demand will be an uphill battle for many automakers,” said Vanessa Ton, senior manager of market and customer research at Cox Automotive. “In the market right now, there is low consumer awareness and some skepticism on the part of shoppers. To gain consumer acceptance, automakers must ensure consumers perceive subscription-based features as a good value and not just a money-grab.”

We’ll have more on Ford’s connected vehicle push soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for continuous Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. David Dickinson II

    They think it is a money grab because it IS a money grab.

    1. JK


  2. David Dickinson II

    …and, better yet, how much would you like to tip your salesperson when you pick up your vehicle: 20%, 22% or 25%?

  3. Bill

    Give me an fm and Sirius and I’m fine what else do you really need

  4. John

    Are they going to lower the price of vehicles since they may be in there but you won’t be able to use them unless you have a subscription. Licence to steal?? It never ends.

  5. Anonymous

    So they will build the vehicle with everything (heated/ventilated seats, heated steering, Blue Cruise, HUD, etc.) Then you buy the vehicle with all of that equipment already in it (and certainly the price will reflect that equipment being included…they won’t take the financial risk that people may not subscribe.) Then you pay additional recurring fees to activate and use the features that you paid for in the price of the car. That’s absolutely a total cash grab. It started with Onstar, satellite radio and in-car wifi. Now it’s advancing to options and accessories.

    Soon discussions will go like this:
    “I just bought a new car!”
    “Oh, nice! Did you activate all of the features?”
    “Oh, so you’re leaving it a base model. Meh. That’s no fun.”

  6. John

    Between these automakers ditching V8 engines and trying to turn vehicles into video games, older vehicles look better by the day.


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