We’re quickly entering an era in which car buyers do not have to decide on all their vehicle features at the time of the initial purchase. Thanks to technology–and a desire to create recurring revenue–automakers are increasingly adding the ability to add vehicle features post-purchase.
Audi is but the latest in a growing list of automakers testing the waters of on-demand feature purchases. Tesla started the trend, but Porsche and BMW have also joined the fray in limited capacities. In Audi’s case, the Germany luxury brand is rolling out the ability to add features in two markets: Germany and Norway.
Owners of the E-Tron and E-Tron Sportback electric SUVs, as well as the A4, A5, A6, A7, Q5, Q7 and Q8 in those two markets are the first to get the new functionality. Audi says these owners will be able to add features relating to vehicle lighting, driver assistance and infotainment.
One can read this to say that just about anything that’s purely software will likely be a feature that can be added after the initial purchase. For example, a buyer could decide six-months into owning an A4 that they really do want Audi’s MMI Navigation system. This owner will be able to add it (for a fee) via an app or the myAudi web portal. Once a feature is purchased, it’s sent to the vehicle via an over-the-air software update.
Audi is also including a “try before you buy” option on the features. Owners can try out a new feature for a one-month trial period before decided to purchase it or not.
Audi has not disclosed what the pricing for adding features will be. Other automakers have leveraged both one-time fees and recurring subscription fees for various features.
There’s no word yet on if or when Audi will extend this functionality to additional markets, including the U.S.