Subscription services are common nowadays. You can subscribe to watch movies or listen to music or try new foods. But what about subscribing to cars? Traditionally, if you want a car, you either buy or lease. But now there is another alternative: car subscription services. You only have to sign up for the vehicle of your liking and cancel when you are done. There are many ways to subscribe to your car ranging from automakers to third parties. If you want to subscribe to your next vehicle, how about a guide?
How Car Subscription Works
With a car subscription service, you don’t own the car instead you get to use the vehicle for an inclusive monthly fee. The fee covers insurance, roadside assistance as well as maintenance. And some subscription programs can allow you to ‘flip’ in and out of different cars after you have issued a notice. For example, you use a Mercedes during the week, and on the weekend you are riding on an SUV.
Benefits of Car Subscriptions
• Convenience. Most companies let you set up and manage the subscription online via a smartphone. So you don’t have to meet with them face to face. The company then will deliver the car right to your doorstep.
• Flexibility. With a car subscription, you can change cars quickly and more freely because all you need to pay is a particular brand’s service. Contrary to buying a car where if you want to swap then you have to save up huge cash for that.
• Your credit score does not matter. If you want to get a car loan from a bank, they will often look at your credit score, and if it is low, then they might not lend you the money. But car subscriptions are not long time commitments, so the companies are not so keen on your credit score. Some subscription services may be as short as a month.
• Car subscriptions save money. When you buy your car, you have to pay for the insurance and all the other necessary fees. But when you subscribe to a car, the monthly fee that you pay caters for all the financing charges of the car. And also there are no down payments.
Drawbacks of Car Subscription
• Car use restrictions. When you buy your car, you impose your own rules. But with subscription programs, you have to follow the regulations imposed on drivers.
• You will never own the car. After buying a car and paying off the vehicle becomes yours. But when you choose to subscribe there is always the monthly fee you will have to pay on a car that you don’t own it. So if ownership is essential to you, buying a car is the best option.
• No negotiating. The fees are set at a fixed price. So if you are good at bargaining, you may not have that opportunity with car subscriptions.
Companies Which Offer Subscription Services
Most car makers have launched subscription services. For instance, BMW introduced a program “access by BMW” subscription service. Mercedes Benz and Audi also offer subscription services called Mercedes Benz Collection and Audi Select respectively.
Other subscription services include Canvas by Ford and Care by Volvo from Volvo.
Car Subscription vs. Buying and Leasing
Pricing is where it gets tricky. It is quite difficult to compare subscription services with traditional methods of acquiring a car because the services are quite different. Also, car subscription pricing tiers vary from company to company. For example, BMW has multiple pricing on different vehicles ranging from $1099 to $2699. And on the other hand Ford Canvas is only $380 per month. Even better if you have your own insurance, the car provider can go to as low as $160 a month. It is hard to say subscriptions are always cheaper or expensive because there are a number of ways you can acquire a car traditionally.
Car subscriptions are a new way to acquire a vehicle. But before you go and sign up for the services, check out with your insurance company and analyze the cost vs. the benefit first. Since car subscription could be exciting but if you are not properly informed, you may end up regretting your decision.