We have been exploring how the concept of personal transportation is changing. Car subscriptions is a trend that seems to have sprung up from nowhere. But, you know something is becoming main stream when it makes the national television network morning news shows. As reported on at least one morning news show recently, a number of different companies, including manufacturers, dealers and others are now offering car subscription services. Now you can change your car as easily as you change your wardrobe.
Most of these plans work in a similar way. For a fixed fee (usually per month) you can drive a car of your choosing (within limits), and at the end of the period choose to keep driving it, or switch to something else. Drive an SUV for the winter and a convertible for the summer. Some subscriptions allow a switch as often as every two weeks, while others are almost lease-like in that you are committed for a full year. Most include the cost of insurance and repairs in the monthly fee. Some even include roadside assistance and/or regular maintenance items in the basic fee.
Subscription plans are typically going to be more expensive than just buying or leasing, but it is hard to beat the convenience and fun factors of being able to drive a different car every month or so. Plans range from a few hundred dollars a month to over $3,500/month for some high end luxury brands. Depending on the company there may be limits on the vehicles available. Obviously, a major manufacturer is only going to rent you vehicles from their brand(s). Also, not all options involve new cars. Some plans rent off-lease cars that may be 3 or 4 model years old. There is even a company that offers an all-electric fleet made up of the Nissan Leaf, Fiat 500e, BMW i3, Volkswagen eGolf, and the Tesla Model S.
Subscription car services are mostly still in the pilot stage and available in only selected areas. While this whole concept is likely a somewhat desperate gambit by manufacturers and dealers to combat shrinking car sales; if you are the kind of car enthusiast who always dreamed of being able to regularly have something new to drive, this may be just the thing you were looking for.