One of the most stressful aspects of searching for a new car is the choice element: ‘Is this the right car for me?’ ‘What if I move to a different climate?’ ‘What if we have kids?’ The questions that factor into the decision can range from true issues to ridiculous worries, but they all cause unneeded stress nonetheless. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a car buying option that wasn’t so permanent, an option that allowed you to choose the right car for you from month to month or even day to day? Well, the newest auto trend may be the answer for many potential buyers.
Car subscription services are the newest trend in car buying circles, so this article will venture to provide useful information on car subscription services that you as a consumer can use to make up your mind. Different from more traditional buying and leasing options, car subscription services are most closely likened to car rental, which makes it easier to get approved. Programs vary from provider to provider, but in general, subscribers pay a flat monthly fee for access to a new or certified used car on a flexible lease term. Most programs are managed through easy-to-use websites or apps, and the subscription fee usually includes insurance, maintenance, and roadside assistance.
The most innovative aspect of these programs is that the subscribers have the ability to change vehicles regularly, in some cases from day to day. In theory, a subscriber could choose to drive a convertible for the summer and then switch into an SUV for the winter, or drive a sports sedan during the week and switch to a pickup truck on the weekends. The possibilities are endless, offering subscribers more flexibility than any other vehicle purchase program. Car subscription services are typically geared towards high-end vehicles and are usually marketed as luxury services with concierge service often included.
The benefits of car subscription for the driver are obvious. Subscribers get a quality vehicle without the worry of insurance, registration, or maintenance. They get the flexibility to choose a vehicle through an easy-to-use interface with flexible lease term and a constant flat rate charge that is comparable to the cost of leasing a vehicle. Subscribers also get the piece of mind of knowing that the programs are easier to get approved for and that the choice they make is not permanent.
Providers also benefit from this arrangement. The rates charged for subscription services are typically moderate from the perspective of the consumer, but the provider has the benefit of retaining ownership of the vehicles. In consideration of the fact that the subscription service is simply renting the cars, the monthly fee paid is much higher than the monthly depreciation of the car. The maintenance and insurance are negligible, as they would be required to preserve the car in any case. In short, the provider makes a large margin renting a car to multiple subscribers and ends up with a quality used car that can be sold at or above market.
So it seems that subscription service is a win-win proposition for all involved. Don’t expect it to replace traditional buying and leasing anytime soon, however, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t the perfect option for you.