A Rental By Any Other Name

…smells foul.  Try this bastardy on for size:

The growing “features on demand” (FoD) trend in the auto industry is upsetting American car owners, who are growing increasingly displeased with having to pay for extra car features via subscription. 69 percent of respondents to a recent survey indicated that they would probably switch car brands if they were forced to pay monthly fees for features like heated seats.

As far as I’m concerned, they can take their “FoD” and “FOAD” (fuck off and die).

Of course, cars aren’t expensive enough, so the manufacturers have to find other ways to suck blood cash from their customers.

And they can’t be stopped:

Subscription fees have been incorporated into automakers’ financial models and projected future earnings. Wall Street analysts and investors believe these extra funds will increase future profits and stock prices.

So basically, we’re fucked, then.

Unless, of course, we don’t buy any of their cars or if we do, we shun those oh-so necessary doodads like heated seats, GPS and “climate control” (what we used to call heating and a/c).  Ditto “smart” key fobs and all the other useless and expensive shit that for some reason, we can’t seem to do without nowadays.

“Oh, you want a steering wheel with our new car?  That’ll be $75/month, because you don’t just get a wheel, you also get a built-in gear shift, controls for your FM-only radio, and a telephone (another $25/month for unlimited calls anywhere within your own zip code).  What’s that?  You just want a plain wheel, no extras?  How quaint.  Well, we don’t offer those anymore, on the advice of our accountants.  Now let’s talk about the monthly cost of ABS…”

Mother fuckers.  Motherfucking fuckers.


In fact:


  1. You see a problem, someone else sees an opportunity, I predict that will not go as smoothly as envisioned by some hot shot MBA too young to remember how long it took for someone to “Jailbreak” a phone. All it will take is some unhappy mid level developer to decide that Government Motors is not paying him enough for his latest code fix.

    Not happy with the way your current 2 year old car performs? Holley will sell you an aftermarket software controlled fuel management system that lets you completely remap the fuel injection and ignition system. Turning on your heated seats should ne that hard. It will void your warrantee, but you don’t like going to the dealer anyway.

  2. GT3, you touched on a little noticed ‘side effect’ of all the electronic gee-gaws
    on vehicles which apparently some buyers simply cannot ‘live’ without.
    Having to go to the dealer for more and more of anything the car requires.
    EVERYTHING is becoming a ‘dealer only part’ and we all know what it means when we hear ‘dealer part’ !! hint $$$$$$$$$$$
    The manufacturers have learned from, for one, John Deere, if I remember correctly. Apparently some of John’s equipment is now ‘online’ and ‘knows’ when it needs maintenance or a part replaced or an eminent failure and guess who it ‘calls’ to do the task – the dealer who then notifies YOU and you are told that John Deere MUST do the work or else !
    They used to call this type of behavior extortion or ‘highway robbery’ !
    Brace yourself for a LOT more of this kind of extortion ( that’s what it is –
    look it up ) which will simultaneously put many people out of work / business !
    Welcome to the ‘dealer ONLY’ world.
    And if you think that counterfeit or boot legged parts / labor will rescue you,
    forget it. Far too many ways to interlock circuitry or mechanisms with passwords / lock-unlock codes / procedures special tools / diagnostic
    And to give you a taste of the wizardry that is going to implement all of this –
    I recently spent the better part of a day bypassing a ‘safety device’.
    Riding mower with a pressure sensor ( spring and a button ) under the seat that
    would not allow the engine to start ( or would kill the engine if
    already running ) unless there was sufficient weight on the seat.
    My problem was I needed to jump start the mower due to dead battery.
    Care to guess where some genius put the battery ? Yep, UNDER the seat.
    The only way around it was to remove the battery which is a pain in the …
    There are other ‘things’ on this mower equally well thought out !!

    1. Agreed, my HP Laser Printer keeps lecturing me for using aftermarket toner ( at 1/3rd the price ) and my Toro Mower has ( had ) the same easily bypassed government mandated safety switch.

      …and yes, modern tractors do talk to the dealers and let them know when service and repairs are due. My Lexus and BMW does as well. And Porsches have required ” Special Tools” for certain tasks for 30 years. I have a small collection of wrenches and sockets that see use for that ” one time” when they are used.

      In John Deers defense, Modern Tractors, along with the needed planters, Cultivators and Combines are multi Million dollar integrated systems that are leased. They are also highly automated, GPS enabled, computer controlled where a breakdown in the middle of a field in Nebraska can mean a delay that could potentially cost $ 200,000 a day.

      But these tech wonders are also why a “Family Farm” can now plant and harvest 4,000 acres. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen how a modern farm operates, Youtube has a number of channels to help.

      But getting back to cars, Just because they ask to call the dealership, doesn’t stop me from doing my own oil and filter changes and resetting the code. They are out of warrantee in any case.

  3. Rental only. I call it the Bill Gates business model.

    More on John Deere (from three years ago)–


    My first summer after high school, I worked for a John Deere dealer (Tulelake, CA) doing final prep/assembly on new equipment. The hot ticket then was a combine with an enclosed cab that had A/C and an AM radio.

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