Fail: Toyota enables remote start of its connected cars only with monthly subscription

Stop - Pixabay[German]A brief information from the world of networked cars, which is constantly being praised by manufactures. The car manufacturers are seeing the whole thing as an goldmine. Japanese manufacturer Toyota (Slogan: Nothing is impossible) is forging ahead. After some time, the remote-controlled start of a corresponding vehicle will requires a subscription – around 8 US dollars per month – according to some US reports.


We are moving into an age where you can still buy products. But they don't seem to belong to you anymore, because the manufacturer decides what you are allowed to do. I became aware of this development the other day via the following tweet.

Toyota's subscription for key fob remote car start

Arstechnica already picked it up in this article. Almost all car manufacturers see car owners as a cash cow and try to rip him off via subscription models for more or less useful additional features. Navi-updates are distributed for moon prices, or any additional services require a monthly subscription. Data is also supposed to flow from the vehicles to the manufacturers as the "new oil".

Toyota Key Fob Remote Function

Already since 2018 there is the possibility to lock vehicles remotely by remote control and to start the engine. The whole thing is described in this PDF (see image above). Now Toyoto has opened the round for cashing in with a new approach. Toyota is offering a Remote Connect subscription package to its vehicle buyers in the US. The service allows the owner of the vehicle to lock its doors remotely via app, for example, or to heat or cool the interior in the case of plug-in vehicles. It also includes the ability to start the vehicle via app to do so.


So far, everything is normal. But now Toyota owners are in for an unexpected surprise, as The Drive reports, because some of the previously free subscriptions for Remote Connect are now expiring. When buying the vehicles, people receive a free trial subscription, the duration of which probably depends on the vehicle and ranges from three to ten years. Once the free subscription has expired, vehicle owners can no longer use their key fob to remotely control the vehicle. Unless they renew this subscription, which then costs $8 per month (or $8o per year). Shiney new world, that I've sketched within my blog post Software: Our grave as furture car owners?

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2 Responses to Fail: Toyota enables remote start of its connected cars only with monthly subscription

  1. Chris Pugson says:

    This makes me long for my 1958 Wolseley 1500 of blessed memory. No remote control nonsense or software bugs with classic cars! The only thing in control is the driver's brain. Manufacturers are going too far.

  2. P.D. says:

    'Way too far!!

    Chris, I miss my 1957 Old 88 371 too…if they could just bring the weight down by using composites, and make the engine electric, it might start a whole new trend!

    Remember "Body Styling"? Nowadays everything looks like a lozenge on LSD.

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