Seat heating and other extras only with a subscription? BMW and other manufacturers actually offer this, because it means you can make more money out of a new car. With a swipe, the cheap brand Dacia is now targeting these surcharge orgies.

The Romanian Renault subsidiary Dacia is Europe’s last car brand that still offers new cars on a large scale for less than 15,000 euros. Although the stink of the spartan cheap brand has disappeared, cars like the Dacia Jogger are modern and competitive – and not quite as cheap as they used to be. Nevertheless, you can hardly get as many cars from any other manufacturer as from Dacia.

The Franco-Romanians are now launching a small attack on BMW with their image of the average consumer, but so far only in Great Britain. The German premium brand BMW has caused a stir by only wanting to offer extras such as seat heating in some models for a monthly or annual subscription fee. Other manufacturers such as Tesla also make a fortune with extras whose hardware (e.g. heating wires) is already installed in the car, but which can only be activated for a fee.

Dacia is launching an unusual campaign at the beginning of February, albeit initially only in Great Britain: drivers can pick up a hot-water bottle free of charge in the branches, regardless of the brand they drive. With their coating, they are suitable for warming up a cold car seat by placing the bottle there before driving off. “Heated Seat Saviors” is the name of the campaign, roughly translated as “savior of the heated seats”.

Of course, the PR stunt is primarily intended to attract new customers to the car dealerships. Dacia also points out that the top equipment of its Sandero Stepway, Duster and Jogger models comes with seat heating as standard – “without you having to pay for it every time you press a button.” In fact, Great Britain is currently being hit by a severe cold snap that every driver without heated seats should swear when he drives off in the morning with an icy backside.

Hot water bottles or not: it is very likely that you will have to keep paying for extras in new cars in the future. This applies to comfort extras, but also to more powerful engines or assistance systems. The advantage for manufacturers of subscription equipment: extras will no longer be tied to the car, but to the owner. If the car is resold used, the car manufacturer can earn something again if the new owner books extras that the previous owner didn’t have – or simply has to book them again. In this way, the car will finally become a digital business model.

Also read: Gasoline or electric car – who warms up faster in winter?