It appears Toyota is a bit uncomfortable with the slightly negative reaction from folks who learned their basic remote start functionality might require a paid monthly subscription. By slightly negative, we mean a blowback of epic proportions that even had some people questioning whether Toyota would eventually charge a monthly fee just to unlock their car.
To Toyota’s credit, executives at the company appear to be listening. According to The Drive, the subscription requirement is being reevaluated on vehicles equipped with basic transmitter-operated remote start. The report claims Toyota wasn’t expecting the backlash it received once word slipped out about the subscription requirement. Imagine that.
The real rub wasn’t so much the subscription itself. Rather, it was requiring a subscription for remote connected service to use what’s essentially a free analog feature that doesn’t need a connected service. In a nutshell, Toyota’s explanation was that newer vehicles with fob-activated remote start use the same software as its connected services to start the car. As such, even though the key fob sends a basic signal to the car, it won’t fire up the engine without the software seeing an active subscription. That’s why older cars with fob-activated remote start are unaffected by the subscription requirement.
Gallery: 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime
Future vehicles will incorporate remote start exclusively into app-controlled functions requiring a subscription, as opposed to a simple button on a key fob. As for Toyota vehicle owners stuck between these two technological worlds, the report claims Toyota isn’t even sure it can separate the transmitter control from the connected services software. That’s apparently part of the ongoing evaluation.
We suspect more than a few people might think it’s all a bit of scrambling on Toyota’s part to reverse what’s become a major PR nightmare. We’ve contacted Toyota in hopes of getting more information, though with the holidays among us, it could be a while before we get a response. As soon as we do, we’ll share it here.
Source: The Drive
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