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Subscription services in our cars are the plague of the century (well, that saying doesn’t exactly work in Covid times, does it?). We saw satellite radio kick the trend off with an annoying pang, but it really ramped up when BMW announced it would be charging yearly for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto services. It got taken even a step further when the company hinted at commodifying other comfort features, some even as basic as heated seats. Well, now Ford has stepped into the mix with something to say. 

Dashboard and front seats in 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor
2022 Ford Bronco Raptor | Ford

Are heated seats standard in new cars? 

According to Motor1, Ford hasn’t completely taken the idea off the table. While it’s hard to believe that a car company could be so cheap as to charge annually for features like heated seats, Ford hasn’t said a hard “no.” However, it seems unlikely that Ford will make such a move after what Ford CEO Jim Farley said recently. 

Farley said he’d “be surprised if we charged for heated seats,” adding, “I don’t think that’s our approach.” but that doesn’t mean subscriptions won’t come to Ford products, though. While he seemed to shut the book on charging for heated seats, Farley has made past comments suggesting that connected services could be a $20 billion market by 2030. 

Will Ford add subscription services to new Ford models? 

The 2021 Ford Bronco in the dirt
2021 Ford Bronco | Ford

“There will be kind of customized software that you can pick and choose off a menu that would make sense for our commercial customers and retail customers,” Farley said. “Maybe dynamic routing or coaching for the driver. I think there’ll be a subscription like the one’s we’re used to in content, but it will be customized based on the usefulness of the data.”

This came after the Ford CEO announced a partnership with the Sonoma County Winegrowers while rolling out the Ford Pro Intelligence. This partnership will see ​​Ford E-Transits and F-150 Lightnings, and the Blue Oval’s cloud-connected charging stations, take up residence at local vineyards.

The reason Motor1 points out this partnership is that Ford is quickly moving toward a much more connected platform. This matters when it comes to charging consumers for connectivity services. While our cars and trucks are getting more capable by the day, so too are the prices running away from regular working folks. 

Jim Farley is rewriting the Ford story 

Many of us tend to think of the big three (Ford, GM, and Chrysler) as these lumbering monoliths making cars for yesterday. However, the old dogs are getting fresh blood in the legs are clearly ready for some new tricks. 

According to, Farley has taken two very necessary steps to launch Ford into the next generation; Turning around when it’s needed and keeping his eyes fixed on the future.

Gladly, he seems to be of the mindset that heated seats, at least, shouldn’t be subjected to the cheapskate paywall strategy that many OEMs are using.


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