Toyota (and Others) Want You to Smash that Subscribe Button

The Toyota logo is shown near lots of subscribe buttons.

My readers, you wise and prosperous fools, I come to you today with a vision: my vision for the auto industry and what it should be. Fortunately, this is not merely a singular aspiration, nor one that I’ve kept to myself. For years now, I’ve slowly been whispering these thoughts into the ears of the heads of numerous car companies. Now, with my work nearing its apex, I can relay to you the bold direction in which the auto industry is heading and how it will benefit you.

Vehicle Subscription Services

There’s no denying that subscriptions are an easy way to enjoy things. Why buy a movie when you can watch it and 50 others over the course of a month and pay just one small fee? Why buy a video game in its entirety when you can pay just as much for it and then get the benefit of paying more money, over several months, for the rest of it? In the world as I see it, everything will be subscription-based – we’ll buy and own nothing, everything will be rented on an ongoing basis!

This is something I’ve been suggesting to my friends in the auto industry for decades now. Forty years ago, they called me a lunatic and cast me out from the warm cloister of their industry. Some thirty years ago, a few would listen, but they were urged to shun me by the vicious malcontents they answered to. Just twenty years ago, I was still largely ignored, though the seed of my words found purchase. A mere decade ago, they finally began to listen, and now the fruit of my great plan has ripened and readied its tender flesh.

The Future Is Now

It was recently discovered that once an initial period ends after buying a new Toyota, one must pay an ongoing subscription to continue using the Remote Start feature on the key fob. For some, this period is as short as just three years, after which they get to enroll in a subscription service to keep using something they already bought. This, my friends, is the beginning of a brave new era for the auto industry – the dawn of the world as I envision it.

Best of all, Toyota is far from alone in this remarkable new approach. BMW is going to charge a subscription for features like heated seats in some of their models, while Mercedes-Benz is letting their customers in Germany unlock performance their EQS models are already capable of by paying for an ongoing subscription. Porsche is testing out subscriptions for their most advanced safety features, and you better believe every company has more in the works.

The Future Is Tomorrow

As for me, I can only hope that this is just the beginning for this glorious new trend in live-service automotive features and systems. Why should we get seats and comfort just because we pay for them when we buy a vehicle? I think the seats should be subscription-based – fail to pay your sub, and the intricate razor-blade lining of the upholstery emerges. There are so many more opportunities; the possibilities are endless.

If I have my way, every part of a vehicle will be subscription-based, and you’ll get the privilege of paying $40k to access those features. Software companies have blazed the trail for the auto industry, with programs becoming leased and subscription-based rather than purchased. I want to license the brakes on my car; every cylinder in the engine should require its own subscription. If I need five different streaming services to be able to watch the shows I’m interested in, then I should need a different subscription for the fuel injectors, battery, suspension, and rear liftgate. This is it, my friends; stand with me beneath the darkened bower of my genius and rejoice within its glorious shadow!

Editor’s Note: Although customer outcry has been largely against the shift to subscription services in vehicles, our corporate partners have assured us that they represent a value-positive alignment of consumer-provider apertures. As such, we too are pleased to see this sea change in the market, and we’re excited about the new monetization prospects it brings for this $82 billion industry. As always, don’t forget to like, follow, and subscribe across our social media platforms for the latest stories and updates! Thank you.


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