Dacia is an automaker many Americans may not be familiar with, but you can think of it as a company defined by low cost of ownership. They're cheap cars that don't try to hide it. As such, something like a subscription for heated seats is sort of antithetical to everything it stands for, and now the Romanian brand is making that abundantly clear.
In a press release, the company explicitly says it "shuns the growing wider industry trend of offering subscription-based access for vehicle features." As such, it will offer free hot water bottles, which appear to get a nice fuzzy covering, to keep drivers warm in the winter while their vehicles warm up. In other words, if you forgot to pay for your heated seat subscription, you can just head to a Dacia dealership in the U.K. this winter to pick up what the automaker calls a "Heated Seat Saviour."
The brand makes it clear that you could just buy a high-trim Dacia, which offers heated seats. It insists that owners "don’t pay to turn them on." If that doesn't interest you, though, it has an alternative. Dacia says owners of the bottle should fill it with hot water, hold it against themselves, or put it on their car's seat before it's warmed up to get the desired effect. The brand warns not to sit on it, along with about a dozen other safety warnings—this is Britain we're talking about, after all—but besides that, it's pretty straightforward to use. Details of where and when to get the bottle are found on a special part of Dacia's website.
This is a marketing play, sure, but it's a smart one. So far, we've seen other automakers state that heated seat subscriptions and similar services aren't going to be something it plans to offer, but no one has poked fun at the idea like Dacia is doing now. The only problem I can see with this is that it's limited to the U.K. Any brand that did something similar in the United States would certainly get a popularity boost, as subscription services are proving to be something many new car buyers aren't interested in.
Whether Americans can get a free cozy water bottle, though, we applaud Dacia for making a very public statement about in-car subscriptions. It's about time an automaker does.
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