Automakers are turning to software to unlock functionality long after a new vehicle has been driven off the dealership lot.
Premium brands from Audi to Tesla are tapping into a rich — and recurring — revenue model. They are building cars and light trucks with the necessary hardware and allowing customers to add features post-sale for a one-time or monthly fee.
Auto industry executives argue the subscription model offers consumers peace of mind and a lower entry point to use or acquire expensive technology and features.
Rather than paying $12,000 upfront for Tesla's Full Self-Driving capability software suite, customers can access the technology for a more affordable $199 a month.
Porsche last year introduced a Functions On Demand feature. Porsche Taycan customers can buy enhanced adaptive cruise control and range optimization features for a monthly or one-time fee.
But with mushrooming bills for streaming services, consumers may be growing weary of the subscription model. Having to pay for vehicle features can prove pricey over the decade-plus lifetime of a vehicle.