Current Toyota drivers might not be thrilled about having to subscribe just to remotely start from their key fobs, but what about new buyers? There’s mixed news. The automaker told Roadshow in a statement that remote starting won’t be available on key fobs for new vehicles. You’ll have to use the brand’s mobile app, in other words. With that said, you might not mind the cost.
You may not ever have to pay for the feature. While it was previously clear 2018 to 2020 vehicles were limited to a three-year Connected Sevices trial, some 2020 model year and newer vehicles include a 10-year trial. There’s a real possibility you’ll have moved on to another car by the time the freebie expires.
This still won’t please anyone who prefers the simplicity of a fob, or owners who intend to keep their vehicles for a long time. You may have to pay extra just to keep the functionality your car had for a large part of its lifespan. We wouldn’t count on Toyota backtracking, mind you. Like many companies, Toyota is turning to services to provide a steadier revenue stream than it would get through sales alone. Remote starting isn’t likely to represent a windfall when it will only collect $80 per year a decade from now, but it hints where Toyota’s strategy is going.