Here Are Your Most Evil Ideas For Car Subscription Services

Here Are Your Most Evil Ideas For Car Subscription Services

For all of our sakes, I truly hope none of you ever run an automaker. I'm terrified

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Image for article titled Here Are Your Most Evil Ideas For Car Subscription Services
Photo: Christopher Furlong (Getty Images)

This morning, we asked you for your worst, most mustache-twirling ideas for subscription-based car features. Anything the CEO of a car company could charge extra for, with bonus points to those who made something so insidious that buyers would actually shell out every month. Well, the results are in: You’re all evil and I now live in fear of the horrors your minds can conjure. But, so I don’t have to bear the burden of these nightmares alone, here are the top ten picks from your suggestions. Have fun.

Advertisement

2 / 12

Variable Throttle Response

Variable Throttle Response

Image for article titled Here Are Your Most Evil Ideas For Car Subscription Services
Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

Variable throttle response.

Every buyer or lessor gets one year of Premium Response included in the purchase price, after that the car’s downgraded to Basic Response (with the sort of monster throttle lag we discussed re EcoSport and 2008 Toyota Yaris) unless you pony up an extra ten bucks a month.

As an avid hater of laggy electronic throttles, this is one I could actually see myself being forced to buy. You get your shiny new performance car, and you love the way it feels for the first 30 days — only to learn that was your one-month free trial of Premium Response. Shudder.

Suggested by: nlpnt

Advertisement

3 / 12

Pay Per Cylinder

Pay Per Cylinder

Image for article titled Here Are Your Most Evil Ideas For Car Subscription Services
Photo: Lewis Collard (Wikimedia Commmons)

Pay per cylinder. Imagine every nice car came with a V8 that could make over 500 hp, but they deactivated 6 behind a paywall because 2 cylinders is sufficient to get up to highway speed and cruise. Then you have a monthly subscription to unlock either 4, 6, or all 8 cylinders.

With cylinder deactivation tech, this one genuinely seems feasible. Cars are already cutting out unnecessary engine displacement based on driving conditions and load, why not restrict your power based on a monthly fee?

Suggested by: savethemanualsbmw335ix

Advertisement

4 / 12

Miles Per Gallon Per Dollar

Miles Per Gallon Per Dollar

Image for article titled Here Are Your Most Evil Ideas For Car Subscription Services
Photo: Qurren (Wikimedia Commons)

Subscription eco mode. Without it, your car chugs gas and costs you more money. But if you pay us, we’ll save you money and your car will cost you less money overall.

The truly insidious part is that you could not only advertise lower MPGs with a big asterisk, but you are definitely making the world worse if people don’t pay you money, so you’re basically holding the climate hostage.

Am I a James Bond villain?!

A default ECU tune that runs extremely rich could be justified by automakers waving their hands and saying “evaporative cooling in the cylinders.” Plus, they’d get the benefit of changing the spark plugs ever 5,000 miles for customers that don’t shell out for the Eco Plan.

Suggested by: Honesty

Advertisement

5 / 12

Nocturnal Illumination System

Nocturnal Illumination System

Image for article titled Here Are Your Most Evil Ideas For Car Subscription Services
Photo: Eugene Triguba eugenetriguba, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

You told us at the time of purchase your intended use for the vehicle was as a daily driver.

We understood that to mean daytime.

If you’d like to add functionality to our proprietary Nocturnal Illumination System, that can be activated for $19.99 per month.

While a car company couldn’t reasonably lock away all headlight functionality, automakers could use LED pulse width modulation to dim the headlights for owners that cheap out on their monthly subscriptions. Manufacturers already use cheaper, worse headlights in base-trim cars, what’s the difference?

Suggested by: elgordo47

Advertisement

6 / 12

Heated Seats

Heated Seats

Image for article titled Here Are Your Most Evil Ideas For Car Subscription Services
Photo: Michael Sheehan via Wikimedia Commons

Heated seats would be the most frustrating, because it’s literally an on/off switch for a piece of hardware you already have in your car and presumably paid extra for when you bought it. Other options are more sophisticated and are more important for the actual function of the car, but this one would irk me the most because of how simple the process is supposed to be.

I could see this being the kind of option that the first owner of a luxury car invests in, but one that subsequent owners circumvent constantly. How hard could it be to tap off of an ignition-controlled 12v lead, and just wire your seats to a light switch duct-taped to the dash? Harder than I think? Yeah, that sounds about right.

Suggested by: BigRed91

Advertisement

7 / 12

Premium Audio

Premium Audio

Image for article titled Here Are Your Most Evil Ideas For Car Subscription Services
Photo: Håvard Wien via Wikimedia Commons

Premium audio systems. Without our subscription, you get fully tunable AM/FM radio, volume control, and two speakers (probably front doors). To unlock the other eleven speakers, access to equalizer functions and panning, and to receive audio input from sources like USB, AUX, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Sirius XM™ satellite radio (additional subscription fees may apply), you’ll need to subscribe to our Mitsubishi Diamond Audio Subscription plan.

Most cars already cheap out on their base-model stereos. Locking the EQ away behind a paywall, though, is a true evil targeted specifically at my former-college-radio-host ears. I’ve spent months dialing in the bass and treble on my FR-S, and you can pry my settings from my cold dead hands.

Suggested by: Boter

Advertisement

8 / 12

Shady Service Indeed

Shady Service Indeed

Image for article titled Here Are Your Most Evil Ideas For Car Subscription Services
Photo: JaayJay, via Wikimedia Commons

Congratulations dear buyer on the purchase of your new BMW 4 series convertible! For your convenience, your vehicle is parked out front at the dealership with the roof down and ready for you to enjoy the sun! All you have to do is drop by the front desk, sign some paperwork and pick up your keys!

May I interest you in our new Shady Service? For only $14.95 a month, you’ll be able to put the roof up on your car and enjoy it in all weather!

Imagine not buying this subscription. You’re out cruising PCH, wind in your hair, and suddenly you feel the first couple drops of summer rain. Do you try to race home to your garage? Do you park under an overpass and wait it out? The anxiety medication alone would outweigh the cost of the service.

Suggested by: dolsh

Advertisement

9 / 12

An Ad-Free Experience

An Ad-Free Experience

Image for article titled Here Are Your Most Evil Ideas For Car Subscription Services
Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP (Getty Images)

People are thinking of subscriptions to access things, what about subscriptions to turn off things? If you don’t buy a subscription to Ford Premium™ every time you start the car - and regularly throughout your drive - you get an ad for a really terrible looking mobile game, and in general get regular calls and emails to ask you to upgrade to premium, fill out surveys so they can “serve you better”, calls from the dealer asking if you want to trade your car in for the new and exciting “exact same car you already have but with cleaner floormats” and “exciting offers from partners” which have no relevance to you or your needs.

I mean, that might actually be worth $15/mo.

To make it worse, they could give you the option of watching a commercial instead of paying to use the feature.

Connect to Apple Car Play? First watch this 30 second commercial. Enter an address into navigation? Here’s a quick word from our sponsor! Want to warm your seat? Well we bet you’d love a nice warm cup of Swiss Miss right about now! Need to hit the brakes? Not until you’ve listened to this ten second spot from Brake Masters!

An ad-free experience.

Key in, start the car. Watch a 30 second preroll before you’re allowed to shift out of park unless you’re paying for the premium experience.

I have enough mobile game ads in my life simply from watching YouTube. You can’t give me a pre-roll ad and also include an ad read in the video, then give me ads during the video. It’s inhumane, I tell you. If it extends to cars, we riot.

Suggested by: Citric, Sad Crying Clown in an ILX, ArcturianMegadonkey

Advertisement

10 / 12

Cargo Payload Fees...

Cargo Payload Fees...

Image for article titled Here Are Your Most Evil Ideas For Car Subscription Services
Photo: Ford

Ford has a head start with their F-150 that weighs the load in the bed of the pickup. Next logical step is to add up the weight every month, charge you a fee for it and auto-pay it out of your checking account.

“Sorry, the payload rating for your vehicle is 500 lbs. Would you like up upgrade to our Premium Hauling Package for $4.99/mo? You’ll get an additional 1,000 pounds of payload capacity delivered instantly. Or, for $14.99/mo, you can upgrade to the Max Hauling Package and we’ll let you load the car up until the leaf springs snap. Note: subscription to the Max Hauling Package voids any and all warranties.”

Suggested by: TheBlightOfGrey

Advertisement

11 / 12

...And Passenger Payload Fees

...And Passenger Payload Fees

Image for article titled Here Are Your Most Evil Ideas For Car Subscription Services
Photo: Aizar Raldes/AFP (Getty Images)

Scenario: You purchase a 8-passenger SUV.

The dealer offers you a plan for 2-passengers, 4-passengers, 6-passengers or 8-passengers.

You decide to take the 4-passenger plan because, hell, it’s just you, the S/O and the kid and sometimes the dog.

Fast forward a few months, you get roped into carrying your family -plus- your cheap-ass BIL who cries poor-mouth whenever a long trip is involved, and his hideous wife and their two obnoxious brats.

No problem, you think.... I have a big vehicle....

Then this pops up on the screen “Your plan does not allow more than four passengers in this vehicle. An additional fee of $0.02 per mile per passenger will be billed to your account.”

That’s an additional $40.00 for a 500-mile road trip.

It’s all about the nickels and the dimes here. A combination of weight sensors and internal cameras (present only for anonymized monitoring purposes, of course, and never used to collect and sell your data) could track if you’re exceeding your subscription tier’s number of filled seats. Do backpacks count?

Suggested by: Earthbound Misfit I

Advertisement

12 / 12