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The last time we checked, GM was doing pretty well from a profit standpoint. But you couldn’t tell from its announcement this week that it is charging $1,200 for Cadillac Lyriq owners to get an extra 74 lb-ft of torque. The added umph Cadillac calls Velocity. We think it will go by the wayside like BMW’s heated seats subscription swindle.

This powertrain upgrade comes for the Lyriq AWD version, giving it 524 lb-ft of torque for a 4.4-second zero-to-60 mph figure. “We are currently offering Velocity as an optional software upgrade on the 2024 Cadillac Lyriq AWD,” a Cadillac spokesperson told GM Authority. “It will be available on the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq AWD at a later date.”

Is Cadillac charging Lyriq buyers because it can’t survive?

2024 Cadillac Lyriq EV SUV shot at dusk
2024 Cadillac Lyriq EV SUV | GM

As an over-the-air (OTA) power upgrade, it seems rather cheap on Cadillac’s part. Locking down software harboring extra upgrades is, unfortunately, the new normal, but it still sucks. And this being a Cadillac, which is supposed to be the best of the best, at least for a GM product, makes this especially galling. 

With the transitions to EVs, carmakers have been salivating over this OTA pay for power and extra features upgrade since first developing EVs. It is a huge profit generator, ignoring the fact it is a buzz kill for customers. If you don’t believe it, just ask BMW.

Didn’t BMW have to drop a similar charging plan like Cadillac?

2024 Cadillac Lyriq EV SUV front 3/4 view
2024 Cadillac Lyriq EV SUV | GM

Earlier this year, BMW did away with charging $18 a month for heated seats. BMW calls the idea “experiments with microtransactions,” but it didn’t go well. 

“We thought that we would provide an extra service to the customer by offering the chance to activate that later, but the user acceptance isn’t that high,” BMW board member Pieter Nota told Autocar. “People feel that they paid double, which was actually not true, but perception is reality, I always say. So that was the reason we stopped that.”

Cadillac: If it has the best, give consumers the best

2024 Cadillac Lyriq EV SUV interior looking from driver's side
2024 Cadillac Lyriq EV SUV | GM

BMW also was charging $300 for a subscription to Apple CarPlay. Then, the price came down to $80 a year. This was also on the heels of BMW’s Access by BMW, where a customer could pay $2,000 monthly to drive different BMWs throughout the year. Both the Apple CarPlay subscription and Access by BMW are now gone. 

Some exaggerate that someday automakers will charge extra for windows and knobs. But it is a valid point. If a top-of-the-line product is the best you’ve got, then give it all you’ve got. 

Does Cadillac know about BMW’s subscription fails?

2024 Cadillac Lyriq EV SUV in front of glass building
2024 Cadillac Lyriq EV SUV | GM

Car Companies Exploit Buyers With Subscriptions So You Pay and Pay and Pay

Yet, that’s what Cadillac is doing. Though the Lyriq AWD is at the top of the heap, there are ways to pay for being above the top. Customers already feel swindled with how much prices have risen over the past two years and how, until now, there has been no negotiating on prices. 

Maybe GM didn’t read about BMW’s problems having owners paying for extras that already exist in their cars? Or maybe they’ll go out of business without charges like this?