BMW Exec: No Plans To Sell In-Vehicle Ads

Despite the ever-expanding screens in its vehicles, including an available 31-inch backseat theatre screen, BMW has no plans to sell advertising on any of them.

Radio commercials are intrusive enough, says Stephan Durach, the brand's senior vice president, connected company development.

“At the end of the day, I think your car is your last private space,” Durach told a small group of media members last week during a roundtable discussion. “It’s where you can do whatever you want by yourself -- you have the right temperature, the music you want. To say I'm selling the screen to play a commercial -- I don't see it. It’s a private space.”

BMW has not been afraid to push the envelope to find new ways to make money. The automaker was the first to charge a fee for heated seats in its vehicles in some overseas markets.



But earlier this fall, the automaker dropped the heated seats subscription option after customers expressed discontent for having to pay to unlock existing functions in their cars. 

Other potential moneymakers for the German automaker could be a subscription service tied to offering a location-based scent experience in cars, or the ability to link augmented reality headsets to vehicles in motion for backseat passengers. Both technologies were shown to the media last week.

The scent experience would link which scent the occupants experience to GPS data. For example, when driving by the ocean, the car would supply a beach-inspired scent. Or if the driver has entered the address for a gym into the navigation system, the vehicle could offer scents that would energize the driver.

The automaker also highlighted technology already in production. BMW has already developed ConnectedRide Smartglasses which give motorcycle riders a head-up display inside of their helmet with information like navigation, speed and gear — similar to what is displayed on a head-up display in a vehicle. 

Chock full of technology and making its North American debut was the BMW Vision Neue Klasse concept car, which will go into production in 2025.

It includes a minimalistic interior devoid of knobs and switches. Instead, information is communicated via a panoramic head-up display screen that runs the entire length of the inside of the windshield and can be seen by passengers. Traditionally, head-up displays have only been in the driver’s visual field.

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