Revoked With Immediate Effect
BMW Just Undid Its Biggest Mistake in Years
One of BMW’s stupidest decisions in years is coming to an end. BMW has ended its policy to of charging $80 per year in subscription fees for Apple CarPlay in its new cars and SUVs, according to a statement the carmaker gave to Car and Driver.
The change will take effect immediately, BMW said, and is retroactive; any 2019 model year cars that have seen their 12-month free trial of CarPlay lapse already will have the service re-enabled. Starting now, any Bimmer with navigation will offer Apple CarPlay for free in perpetuity.
Charging for Apple CarPlay was always a bad look for BMW. Almost every other manufacturer — from BMW’s big-budget rivals to budget brands — offers the technology for free. (Most of them offer Android Auto too, a technology that BMW does not.) BMW’s ostensible justification was that, unlike other carmakers, the company also offered wireless CarPlay functionality — though other manufacturers have begun doing the same.
Even if BMW needed that trivial amount of extra income, the company could have worked an extra $80-plus into the cost of each vehicle’s MSRP, or into a technology package, without buyers noticing or feeling ripped off. Would many BMW buyers have paid the fee? Probably. But why give anyone a reason to go check out a Mercedes?
Well, here’s hoping BMW’s Apple CarPlay mea culpa will inspire the company to revisit its second-stupidest decision in years: obnoxiously large kidney grilles.