FOTW #1038, July 16, 2018: Companies Now Offer Vehicle Subscription Services

July 16, 2018

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There are a growing number of alternatives to buying or leasing a vehicle. The latest is a vehicle subscription which allows the use of a vehicle for an all-inclusive monthly fee. The monthly fee typically covers a newer model vehicle (not necessarily brand-new) with insurance, maintenance, and roadside assistance. Most services also have an initial subscription starting fee. One of the perks to these services is that the subscription owner can change the vehicle model they drive during the subscription period. Most of the services have mileage limits, and some have other restrictions, such as non-smoking or pet policies. Although many of the subscription services are providing vehicles in selected localities now with plans to expand later, one service – Care by Volvo – is available nationwide. One of the questions most often asked: "Is a subscription service less expensive than buying a vehicle?" Edmunds estimated the cost of a subscription service versus buying the same vehicle. They found varying answers because the services vary greatly but estimates from one example are shown.

Graphic showing cost per month of buying a 2015 Ford Escape versus a Ford Canvas Subscription. Buying-$701, 1 month subscription-$905, 6 month subscription-$617, and 1 year subscription-$580.

Note: "Buying" estimate includes insurance and 60-month loan with no money down on a certified, pre-owned vehicle. Subscription also includes insurance and mileage limit of 15,000/year or 1,250/month.

Source: Edmunds.com "What are Car Subscription Services?" accessed May 14, 2018.

Examples of Vehicle Subscription Service Terms

Service Name Selected Terms
Mobiliti Starts at $549/month; one swap every 30 days
Care by Volvo Starts at $600/month; $500 to join, applied to first month’s payment; swap allowed after 12 months into the 24-month term
Drive Flow Starts at $850/month; $250 to join; one swap per month
Book by Cadillac $1,800/month; $500 to join; applied to first month’s payment; up to 18 swaps per year
Access by BMW Starts at $2,000/month; $575 to join; unlimited swaps
Porsche Passport Starts at $2,000/month; $500 to join; unlimited swaps
Ford Canvas Starts at $379/month + mileage package option; $99 for each swap

Note: Not an all-inclusive list. There are other companies offering vehicle subscriptions.

Source: Ford Canvas, "Pricing," website accessed May 18, 2018.

All others: Crain Communications, Automotive News, "Subscription Drive," April 9, 2018, p. 56.

Fact #1038 Dataset

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