Why is iPod integration free on cheap cars and extra on pricey ones?

Red car on calculator

I have never understood why a $36 room at a Motel 6 includes Wi-Fi while a $360 room at the Ritz-Carlton does not.

Want to hook up to the Internet? That will cost an extra $5 an hour or $10 a day.

Is Wi-Fi at high-end hotels more expensive to operate and maintain than at budget motels?

Or is it that the well-heeled are used to paying extra for things the budget conscious expect for free?

Whatever the reason, the same cost discrepancy is at work on new-car electronics.

Many relatively inexpensive, entry-level cars include integrated iPod connection in their base price while some far more expensive luxury cars don't.

Integration is when an iPod doesn't simply play through a vehicle's audio system via an auxiliary input jack but is controlled by its audio head unit through a USB connection.

How is it that every Hyundai Accent, including the bottom-of-the-line $12,445 GLS, includes iPod integration in its base price while BMW charges an extra $400 for it on the $66,500 550i xDrive?

Ford includes iPod integration in its $16,600 Fiesta SEL, but to enjoy it in an $87,600 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG costs an additional $2,500 for the Premium 1 Package that bundles iPod integration with several other optional features.

Bentley charges a $470 premium to have iPod integration added to its $184,200 Continental Silver Spur; yet it is included in the base price of the $15,560 Nissan Versa SL.

In fact, there are all manner of inexpensive sedans -- I only researched sedans -- priced under $20,000 that include iPod integration.

It seems to me that if a carmaker can afford to include iPod integration in its entry-level economy car, a luxury brand can do it in a $50,000 sedan.

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