BMW Apple CarPlay – subscription fees dropped, but one-time RM1,299 activation fee still needed in Malaysia for CKD models

It seems that some BMW owners in Malaysia will still have to pay for Apple CarPlay on their cars in the form of a one-off RM1,299 activation fee, following which there will be no charge for any further subscription fees.

This then is the updated story from BMW Malaysia, which had originally informed us on December 5 that there would no longer be any need to pay subscription fees for models equipped with Apple CarPlay in the local market, following a query over reports indicating that the automaker had pulled the plug on the subscription fees for Apple CarPlay in global markets such as the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom.

What was not communicated at that point was that a one-time payment is still needed to enable CarPlay on a BMW vehicle capable of running the standard, if the vehicle isn’t already enabled with Apple CarPlay.

At this juncture, all locally-assembled models – even moving into the future – are not, and as such will need that one-off Apple CarPlay Preparation, which as listed through the local BMW ConnectedDrive Customer Portal and on-board ConnectedDrive store is priced RM1,299. Current CBU models have Apple CarPlay enabled, meaning that there is no need for owners to pay anything for CarPlay access, and this will continue moving forward.

What has been completely dropped is the four-tier subscription, which was announced at the point of Apple CarPlay Preparation’s introduction in Malaysia back in July. Pricing started with a trial option for RM5, renewable for up to three months and meant for those wanting to try out the feature before committing. A 12-month plan was priced at RM513, while a 36-month/three-year plan went for RM799 and unlimited access, for RM1,899.

These have all been dropped as part of the axing of the subscription fee. Essentially, the updated scenario now shapes up to be a discounted rate for unlimited access on vehicles needing Apple CarPlay Preparation to be performed – instead of paying RM1,899, users only pay RM1,299.

The automaker initially said that it had nothing to gain from the decision to impose a subscription fee, and that the move was actually a global directive from Apple, later explaining that the subscription was due to wireless connectivity adding complexity and incurring extra cost in integration.

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