The internet blew up recently when some local BMW markets announced a plan to offer options like heated seats as a monthly subscription service. While subscriptions services are certainly in the cards for BMW and all manufacturers, the approach taken by some markets has created a massive backlash.

Functions on Demand is a BMW offering that will ultimately bring features to cars on a subscription basis. However the offerings are quite different for the US market than what you might have seen on the we. Therefore BMW of North America is going on record in clarifying how BMW’s Functions on Demand strategy will be implemented in the U.S. market. 

In short, if you order heated seats (on 90% of BMWs in North America), it will remain optional for the life of the car. Further BMW of North America does not expect factory option purchase levels to change significantly as Functions on Demand become more prevalent.

OFFICIAL RELEASE: BMW Functions On Demand Subscription Service

BMW Functions on Demand on the other hand is designed to offer premium features through software upload that use data and sensors from factory option hardware already built into BMW vehicles. As an example, some BMW models equipped with certain specific options from the factory can currently add the first two Functions on Demand features available in the US – namely a dash cam function called BMW Drive Recorder and BMW Remote Engine Start function—through a software download in a customer’s vehicle. The BMW Drive Recorder feature uses the cameras needed for advanced driver assist systems for dash cam functionality. This gives customers the possibility of adding new software based functionality and a degree of flexibility in that they will be able to test, and then decide whether or not to purchase a vehicle feature that was not initially available at the time of the original vehicle purchase. 
With BMW Functions on Demand, customers will be able to explore new software-based features on a short-term basis by purchasing a trial, or buying that feature outright for a period of time or for the life of the vehicle.  It is important to note that BMW Functions on Demand is intended primarily as a digital aftersales solution and will not affect options that were ordered at the time of the vehicle purchase. 
Please note that BMW Functions on Demand and the possibility to test or purchase select options after the point of purchase is part of a global aftersales strategy that BMW has introduced in various markets around the world, including on a small-scale basis in the U.S. The features that are available in this digital aftersales online store will vary from market-to-market.  Customers can browse available features in their local ConnectedDrive store online.