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BMW has announced it will offer a free four-year subscription of its BMW Assist service to the North American market starting with its 2007 models. It will cost the automaker $80 million in subscription payments, but that's well worth it, according to BMW spokespeople, who say that keeping owners signed onto a service that provides so many safety and convenience benefits is just a "BMW thing to do."

The device is an internal cell phone that relays car diagnostics or emergency information, like an airbag deployment, to a call center in Texas. The system rivals General Motors' OnStar, which has tiered subscriptions that allow owners to specify everything from emergency assitance to a virtual concierge.

[Source: Automotive News]


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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      ""We looked at it and asked ourselves, 'What does it mean to us that we're turning off a service that could notify if the airbags were deployed in an accident?' It doesn't seem like a very BMW thing to do," said Francis Dance, manager of telematics business for BMW of North America LLC."

      It is nice what they are doing and I wish GM could afford to do it since all my 4 wheeled vehicles have OnStar BUT shouldn't the quote be: "What does it mean to us that in the first four years we're turning off a service that could notify if the airbags were deployed in an accident?" LOL

      I tried to go to bmwassist.com to see pricing after the 4 years and it doesn't appear to be registered/working. OnStar.com works.

      I wonder if they offer Ride Assist like OnStar (put mouse over words here http://www.onstar.com/us_english/jsp/plans/index.jsp)? The Kennedys would put the service out of business.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Great to see BMW stepping it up with this service. I have two GM vehicles and while Onstar is nice to have, I'm doubting it's anywhere near as cool as what BMW would have...especially if there is concierge involved.

      The $80m pricetag is quite a hit, but the upside is that's what makes BMW a higher end brand, comfort and convenience should be included in the package.

      Now this might just be my experience, but in the 5 states I've looked at BMW's at BMW dealerships I have yet to encounter a friendly atmosphere. Sure, I'm digressing a bit, however it comes full circle. I believe BMW needs an image improvement and this might be a good step forward in that department.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I hope there is an option to pass on this service.

      As I recall it, the courts have said that eavesdropping via this type of device is illegal when it may interfere with the actual services rendered, there is nothing that says automakers can't figure out a way to make it work. Given the shakey position of privacy laws as it is, I don't want something in my car that could broadcast my private conversations to whomever has the correct device to listen in (legal or not - and no, I almost never talk on my cell phone while driving).

      The same goes for vehicle tracking.

      It's bad enough that some cars have (hidden) data event recording devices that can be used against their owners in court.

      It's not that I am doing anything illegal in the slightest, but beaurcracy is huge and makes plenty of mistakes, so flying as low under the radar is a good thing in my book.
      • 9 Years Ago
      i work as a technician for bmw. we have had nothing but problems with our assist system, particularly the telematics control unit that creates the calls themselves, but with every passing day it seems to get better. maybe bmw feels guilty for the problems their current customers are having?
      • 9 Years Ago
      Prior to this announcement, BMW Assist as you may know was free the first year whether leased or purchased. I'm leasing a 06 330i w/BMW Assist and have never been called to tell me anything - PARTICULARLY about the three recalls on the 06 and why my deactivated passenger side airbag indicator keeps illuminating!!! I guess I'll just keep talking to my car with the hope that someday - it'll answer:)
      • 9 Years Ago
      I'm glad to see BMW is extending the serice on this very important safety feature. I currently own a BMW Z4 3.0 that is almost 2 years old. I had the BMW Assist, but on the two occasions I needed it and tried to use it there was a failure in the system. BMW wasn't able to correct the problem, and it reached the end of it's 1 year of free service so I didn't renew it. I also emailed BMW Consumer Affairs about my unhappyness with the short life of this feature and kept my promise that my next vehicle purchase would not be a BMW. I purchased a competitors just 4 months ago.

      This change in service will put BMW back on my consideration list for my next vehicle.