Hyundai Plans to Offer Pay-As-You-Go Features

Have you ever wondered why every feature comes in a package for cars? Vehicles today, and for decades before, have offered optional packages along with your purchase. However, it’s always been a bundle of things together for the most part. Now, Hyundai is planning to offer pay-as-you-go features, which is more complicated than it sounds. Would you be willing to pay to unlock features that already exist in your car?

Hyundai pay-as-you-go features

A Hyundai dealership, similar to the one where they refused to replace catalytic converter.
Hyundai dealership | Getty Images

According to Kelley Blue Book, Hyundai is planning to offer pay-as-you-go features in its future vehicles. What this means is Hyundai models will have the capability for owners to use all their features. However, they will remain locked and unavailable until the owner pays them off. Moreover, buying your next car could be much more affordable, but every feature might be locked behind a paywall.

One particular item is Over-The-Air software updates, which Hyundai says will be available for all models by 2025. These will offer “enhanced performance and functionality anytime, anywhere.” Keep in mind this won’t be for free, either.

Hyundai executives had this to say about the idea for pay-as-you-go features: “Constantly upgradeable vehicle software will bolster Hyundai Motor Group’s ability to secure diverse and stable revenue streams by providing fresh vehicle features and functionality and leveraging selected data to offer personalized services for each customer.”

Hyundai wants every car to be the same

A white 2023 Hyundai Palisade full-size SUV parked outdoors
2023 Hyundai Palisade | Hyundai

Next, the automaker wishes to build all its vehicles the same way. That means using the same parts for nearly every car in its lineup. This is to cut costs and development time and produce vehicles more quickly. In addition, even a dealer with subcompact sedans all the way up to eight-seater SUVs will be able to share its parts. Service and parts distribution from dealers could become cheaper and easier than ever before.

KBB says that electric car lineups allow automakers to design “skateboard-like platforms of batteries, electric motors, and suspension and steering components that can be scaled up or down to build vehicles of many types. Engineers can make front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive vehicles simply by placing electric motors on one or both axles.”

As a result, automakers like Hyundai plan to have two electric platforms. With one for passenger vehicles and one for commercial trucks, most of its lineup after 2025 will use one of the two platforms. Furthermore, future compact Kia Soul models and three-row luxury Genesis GV80s will be mostly cosmetically different instead of mechanically.

Other automakers are planning the same thing

2022 BMW M240i xDrive interior | BMW

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Don’t get too mad at Hyundai if you’re not a fan of this pay-as-you-go idea. According to KBB, many other automakers plan to do the same thing. In short, when you’re buying vehicles in the future, you might not have a choice but to pay as you go. Hyundai did not explain how the fees would be structured. However, we all heard about BMW charging owners monthly fees for access to heated seats earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen presented an idea to charge for some functions by the mile. For example, it would let owners rent additional horsepower and self-driving software by the mile.

On the plus side, owners could turn off every additional feature they don’t use. In addition, when the weather changes, they could deactivate certain things, like all-wheel drive or heated seats. As a result, many car owners may be able to pay significantly less than ever before for everything they need in a vehicle.

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