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automotive subscription plan

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

An automotive subscription plan is a service that offers use of a motor vehicle to a driver for a monthly subscription fee.

For less than the cost of a lease, an automotive subscription provides the opportunity to drive a vehicle with few associated costs other than fuel. Other costs such as maintenance, registration and insurance are taken care of by the service provider. Service providers often offer vehicle drop-off with concierge service. Automotive subscriptions also demand little commitment, with terms varying from months to even weeks or days. Mileage limits are likely, but it's possible the limit will be greater than that of a leased car.

Cadillac was one of the first manufacturers to offer subscription-based vehicle use called Book by Cadillac with a pilot program in New York. Since then, many manufacturers have started to offer vehicles on the subscription model, such as Ford's Canvas, Porche's Porche Passport and Volvo's Care by Volvo. Subscription terms and prices vary greatly with providers and their plans. Some manufacturers offer a specific car model, while others allow subscribers to choose from several models.

Startup companies like Fair and Flexdrive in the United States offer a variety of car makes and models for subscribers to choose from, with the ability for subscribers to swap cars at any time. Many subscription companies offer the ability to sign up for a subscription right from a mobile app.

Convenience, flexibility, cost savings and set pricing are a few reasons why people might be attracted to an automotive subscription plan. People who would likely not be interested include those who value ownership, dislike driving restrictions and have no interest in switching vehicles regularly.

This was last updated in March 2018

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