Toyota ‘Reviewing’ Key Fob Remote Start Subscription Plan After Massive Blowback

An anonymous reader shares a report: Earlier this month, we broke a story about Toyota locking its key fob remote start function behind a monthly subscription. If owners of certain models aren't actively enrolled in a larger Toyota connected services plan, the proximity remote start function on the fob -- that is, when you press the lock button three times to start the car while outside of it -- will not work even though it sends the signal directly to the car. Obviously, this sent people into a frenzy whether they own a Toyota or not, because it was seen as a dark harbinger of the perils of fully-connected cars. Automakers now have the ability to nickel and dime people to death by charging ongoing subscription fees for functions that used to be a one-and-done purchase, and it looked like Toyota was hopping on the bandwagon. At the time, Toyota declined to give us a detailed answer on why it chose to take a feature that doesn't need an internet connection to function and moved it behind a paywall. Today, we've got answers. Toyota now claims it never intended to market the key fob remote start as a real feature, and it also says the subscription requirement was an inadvertent result of a relatively small technical decision related to the way its new vehicles are architectured. Finally, Toyota has heard the outrage over the last week -- a spokesperson told us the company was caught off guard by the blowback -- and its executive team is currently examining whether it's possible to reverse course and drop the subscription requirement for key fob remote start.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.