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Toyota kills physical remote start, digital function will be pay-to-play


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  • Chamberlain

Toyota owners who want to fire up their cars remotely will need to pay as the automaker strikes remote start buttons from its physical key fobs. The automaker on Wednesday told Roadshow the function will no longer be included with the physical car key as it shifts to digital services and a subscription-based method.

Here's how it breaks down. For 2018 to 2020 vehicles with a remote start function on the key fob, the feature will work for three years over a "trial period." Even though an owner's fob features the button, the function will be deactivated after that three-year timeframe. To regain the remote start feature, owners will need to shop the brand's Connected Services for Remote Connect. The price is $80 per year or $8 per month, which also includes a host of other digital functions available through the Toyota smartphone app.

No new Toyota vehicles will feature the remote start function on a key fob. "As we move to more digital experiences within the Toyota app, key fob remote start is not a feature we actively market," the company said. For certain 2020 model year vehicles and newer, owners receive a 10-year trial for Connected Services. In other words, there's a good chance owners won't need to pony up the cash to use remote start since they get over a decade of free use. But, eventually, it will expire for good and require a Remote Connect subscription.

Although it's a controversial move in an era where automakers continue to seek out revenue streams via subscriptions, Toyota said, "We frequently incorporate feedback from customers to ensure we're offering features that are useful and enhance their ownership experiences."



I can't imagine them not losing customers over this. I know I'd be gone in a flash!


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  • Founder

They can kiss any thought I'll be paying for that feature. I think it's crazy to remote start your car anyway. It's a silly idea unless you live in higher latitudes with long periods of sub-zero temps. Not everything needs to be digital. I'll stick with the keyed startup.

I remember my first pickup truck driving lesson had a starter button under the clutch pedal. THAT was the original "keyless" start up app. LOL

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  • Chamberlain

Where I live it's nice feature to have on those bitter cold winter mornings but I'll be damned if I'll pay for it!

Also, they want to remove the button altogether and have you remote start through their app so you better have a charged phone and you better not be anywhere where there is no cell service!

Personally, I expect to see this withdrawn due to customer kickback!!!


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