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Vehicle Subscription Services: What Are They & How Should You Prepare

Oct 11, 2019, 6:24:35 PM

Everyone has Netflix because of how amazingly convenient and cheap it is. Pay a few bucks a month and enjoy binge watching to your heart's content. Now, imagine if dealerships offered cars like Netflix offers movies.

Well, that dealership trend is likely on the horizon with the increasing amount of retailers testing out subscription services for their vehicles.

What Is A Car Subscription Service?

A car subscription service provides you with a car for an all-inclusive monthly fee, often including insurance. Some even let you switch cars frequently.

The appeal is easily understood with today's market - convenience and flexibility are everything drivers want, and this method allows them to experience all that a brand has to offer and simply enjoy the most of what they love: your cars.

How soon might these programs be readily available? Well, it's hard to tell. Toeing the line between affordability and profitability is difficult with such a small sample size to draw from across the industry.

Obviously, more affluent shoppers can maintain higher payments, but common buyers aren't able to keep up with the large premiums that the industry projects will be necessary for the car subscription programs, so it's difficult to project how long it will take for these vehicle subscription plans to truly take tangible form for dealers.

How Should You Prepare In The Meantime?

For now, it looks to be a waiting game. As giants like Penske and Automotive Nation have started testing the idea of flexible ownership, more time is needed to evaluate the return. Maintenance, restocking, administrative, and hundreds of other cost factors are hindering the success of the program across the board.

That said, staying informed is the best way to prepare at this stage of the game. It's wise to keep your ear to the ground regarding these programs, and set aside time to look at the numbers for yourself at your dealership.

Pros & Cons Of Vehicle Subscription Plans

Let's evaluate the pros and cons of these plans.

Pros:

  • Flexibility: Whether you've never owned a truck or you can remember back to a time when you didn't have one, you likely remember how convenient it would have been to own one when moving or hauling things. With subscriptions buyers can use a truck for a certain amount of time and switch back to another option.
  • Variety: It is, after all, the spice of life, and buyers can experience all that your amazing brand has to offer. Not every vehicle is adaptable to their circumstances, but having a subscription that allows them to switch definitely would come in handy.
  • Lead To Sales: Depending on the profitability of subscription programs you may be able to use these to get buyers trying a few models in order to narrow down their search and move to a purchase.

Cons:

  • Profitability: The big con is that it's an expensive program to make profitable. Upkeep costs with these programs are projected to be the biggest factors since cars need to be kept in quality condition between subscribers.
  • Insurance: Switching car insurance coverage often between new vehicles means more variations in monthly payments and other issues with the insurer.

Final Thoughts

As car subscription plans go through more trials and experimentation, they're sure to rise in popularity, profitability, and feasibility. And, as buyers look to enroll in these programs in the future (because they will), staying ahead of the curve and developing your own program will be key to making the most money you can.

What do you think will happen with vehicle subscription services? Will they crash and burn before take off or become the next big car buying trend? Leave a comment on what you think!

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Skip Soucie

Written by Skip Soucie

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