Paying for a Maps Update? - What Year is it?

Paying for a Maps Update? - What Year is it?

In 2016, Google Maps delivered 22 updates without me noticing much less paying for them. 

Documentation on the number of updates to the in-car navigation system for my 2015 Toyota Highlander was hard to find but I do know getting an update requires me to schedule a service appointment. What year is it? 

I recently received an email from the dealership where my wife and I purchased our family vehicle. Typically very timely emails, telling me I am up for a scheduled maintenance or enticing me to check out the newer model year. Typically useful and it's fun to dream. 

Maps Update email

However, this recent email caught me off guard… 

The subject line: “New maps available for your HIGHLANDER's navigation system”

Thoughts: Initially, I was indifferent because I have used the GPS in my car a total of three times in three years. 

but I continue reading… 

The value proposition: “New GEN8 map updates for the reduced price of $169 (previously $249)”

Thoughts: You have got to be kidding me, they want me to pay for an update… 

At this point, I have heard enough of the joke, I have to stick around for the punchline. 

Call to action: “Streets and businesses change all the time — almost 20% every year. Schedule your appointment to download the latest map updates at <DEALER NAME REMOVED> today.”

maps update -2

Thoughts: Wait, not only do I have to pay for the update, but I have to go to my dealer to have them install it. 

That was it, there was the punchline. 

The root of the Issue

In thinking through this, the fact my car is not connected (or has the ability to connect to) the internet is the critical downfall. 

Assume connectivity

If my car were connected, the reality in which this email lives changes. Let's take a look at each of these components assuming my car is connected to the internet. 

The subject line:

  • This email probably would not have even been sent.
  • Toyota would simply charge the credit card I have on file based on my predetermined preferences to auto-upgrade the in-car technology. 
  • They might also see the usage stats and know that I don't use the maps feature. With that knowledge, Toyota may sweeten the deal, change the offer, and attempt to get me hooked with a free trial of the new update. 

The value proposition: 

  • Connected to the internet, I no longer need to schedule a service appointment to install the new software thus taking out the need for a trained professional to get involved. Cost reduced by $100. 
  • GEN8. Assuming this is only the 8th time the software has been updated in three years, with a decreased barrier of releasing new versions, the maps program team at Toyota would probably release updates more regularly.  They would be incentivized to add revenue-generating features such as alerts to near by businesses, similar to Waze. 

Call to action:

  • See points above. The call to action isn't even required. 

When we purchased our car, I was excited at the possibility that this could be the last car we buy that we have to drive in the traditional sense. 

With the recent successes of Tessa and Mercedes we seem so close to this possibility but with symptoms like those mentioned above it feels so distant. 

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