ISSUE:  How much control do manufacturers have?

Many people buy used cars.  The reasons for this varies, but primarily is due to the savings in cost that usually comes with a used car.

The resale market may be good for customers but not so good for manufactures as they earn little to no money from the resale.

In an effort to combat this, car manufactures are shutting down features when a car is resold.  Tesla announced this week that functions like auto pilot will be turned off when a car is resold because “the buyer didn’t pay for it”.

I recently had to replace my car and found the same type of issues.  The car is a BMW and a few years old. Initial features like connected drive (BMW’s name for their online remote services) no longer operate and can not be turned back on since I’m not the original owner.  Any attempt to upgrade the system is prevented by design forcing the purchase of a new car.

This has become so frustrating that many people are considering moving away from brands they have been very comfortable with – myself included.


It has been said that auto manufactures are trying to turn new cars into a Smartphone.  By adding smart tech into the car design, the manufacturer is attempting to generate a revenue stream that continues as long as their product is on the road.   Monthly subscriptions and paid upgrades are becoming part of the norm on vehicles with features being disabled when the car is resold.

Tesla and others have introduced restrictions that prevent you from working on your own car.  If you modify certain things on the car’s computer it will shut itself down. It requires permission from the manufacturer to restart.  No more emergency roadside repairs by the owner.

William (Bill) Sikkens has been an on-air technology expert since 2014. With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology. Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand.  Article edited by Gretchen Winkler, who along with Jeremy Winkler are the co-hosts of User Friendly 2.0 here on The Answer Saturday’s at 5:00 p.m.

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