New Jersey Bill Wants To Get Rid Of Most In-Car Subscriptions


A pair of legislators in New Jersey are taking on the automotive industry with regard to in-car subscriptions. They’ve introduced a new bill that would prohibit automakers from offering in-car subscription services to customers in the state. While there are exceptions, most hardware-based features would be ineligible for a subscription-based fee.

First noticed by the folks over at TheDrive, the bill specifically addresses both dealers and manufacturers. Should it pass, neither would be allowed to offer a subscription service for any feature that ticks two main boxes.

The first is that the feature utilizes components and hardware already installed on the vehicle at the time of purchase or lease. The second is that the feature would “function after activation without ongoing expense to the dealer, manufacturer, or third-party service provider.

More: BMW Thinks You’ll Get Used To Subscriptions And It’ll Reap The Profits

That means that the most egregious examples that we’ve heard of like a subscription to heated seats or remote start would no longer be legal in New Jersey. Interestingly, the legislators also specifically mention “driver assistance that typically is offered to a consumer as an upgrade at the time of purchase or lease of the motor vehicle.”

Both General Motors and Tesla both charge a subscription-based fee for their top-end driver assistance technology. At least in the case of General Motors, Super Cruise does have an ongoing cost which would put it in the acceptable subscription category. So don’t expect high-end tech like that to be free after the initial purchase.

The bill stipulates those who break the law receive a maximum initial penalty of $10,000 for a first offense and a maximum of $20,000 for subsequent offenses. It’s unclear whether or not that applies to every ineligible subscription service offered or every vehicle.

What is clear is that fees for services like OnStar, SiriusXM, or LTE WiFi would still be acceptable. There’s no telling if or when this bill might pass but it would set a precedent that other states could follow. It’s quite clear from the data that most consumers would welcome a ban of this sort regardless of political affiliation.


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