Over-the-air updates are the next big thing in the auto industry. Automakers sell them as a way of keeping your vehicle up to date without having to visit the dealer. But it’s really about the moolah; they want to sell you extras. While it’s a win for them, it may work out for some customers. Maybe. Reuters reports that Toyota is even willing to discount the all-new Prius for Japanese buyers if they agree to over-the-air software updates.
Reports say that Toyota is taking a page from Tesla’s playbook, all in a move to help leasing prices and maintain used car values. If customers agree to the updates, Toyota’s leasing unit expects leasing prices to drop by some 10 percent. This should make both leasing and the option of updates more appealing to customers.
Shinya Kotera, president of Toyota’s Kinto leasing unit in Japan made an interesting statement regarding the option for lessees. While he comments that the company mirrors Tesla by offering this service, he admitted that it’s successful with Tesla because of Tesla buyers’ higher incomes, not necessarily the case with Toyota buyers.
Speaking to Reuters, Kotera said “Tesla’s customers are, to put it simply, high-income earners, and many of them are willing to pay for new and good things so that is why their products are a hit with that segment of the market. Toyota’s customers are not like that. They are not someone who would pay extra for a new technology. They are looking for something good, reliable, and inexpensive.”
And while for now this is just in Japan, Kotera said that Toyota and the leasing unit hope to roll out this option to more vehicles within the next two years, with considerations being given to rolling it out around the globe. Stay vigilent out there.