Inside the New “Netflix for Cars” Phenomenon
The subscription model has revolutionized a number of industries. Once-popular titans in their respective industries, like Blockbuster and Sam Goody, were replaced by their subscription counterparts – Netflix and Spotify respectively. As consumers drift further away from prioritizing ownership, and closer toward craving experience, it’s opened a space for subscription models across the board.
One of the latest industries to test the model has been the automotive industry. Dealerships had, depending on how you look at it, a “lite” introduction to subscriptions by way of car leasing. Under a leasing model, you could experience a car for less cost monthly, without necessarily owning the vehicle. But now the car industry has firmly embraced subscription models with what some outlets are calling the “Netflix for cars”.
What exactly does a car subscription look like? What does signing up for one entail? And why, right now, are they surging in popularity? This article will answer a few of the burning questions surrounding the latest subscription phenomenon.
What Are Car Subscriptions?
Much like Netflix, the service to which car subscriptions are often compared, a luxury car subscription service allows you to partake in the experience of driving, without the responsibilities or limitations of ownership.
When you sign up for a car subscription service, you pay a monthly fee for access to a number of different cars. You choose the package you want, choose the car you want, and simply start driving. Then, on a monthly basis, you are free to renew your current vehicle, or swap it for a different one. (Or, if you so choose, you can cancel the subscription and walk away).
This means you could drive a Ford truck for a couple months, then a two-door Ferrari, then, to save on gas, a Toyota Prius. Much like Netflix offers you access to an eclectic number of experiences, so do car subscriptions.
Why Are They Gaining Popularity?
The popularity of car subscription services can be attributed to three key factors:
- Greater choice
- Lower responsibility
- And fewer vehicle issues
Whereas a traditional financing model locks you into a single car for seven plus years, car subscriptions give users the opportunity to experience a number of different choices. If you’re a car lover, this is a no brainer – you get to drive more cars, more often.
A lot of users also cite the lower responsibility attached to subscribing; if you don’t jive with a car, you simply swap it for a different one the next month, and if you suddenly experience a reduction in income, or you have to move away, you can cancel the program without hassle or personal financial repercussion.
Finally, since you’re often driving cars at the beginning of their lives, you experience fewer problems. And if you do experience problems, car subscriptions often work maintenance into the monthly cost, so you don’t have to worry about sudden, unexpected and costly maintenance.
It was only a matter of time before someone thought to apply the subscription model to driving. And, given the benefits, its popularity should seem inevitable as well. As consumers drift toward notions of “experience without responsibility”, expect car subscriptions to further balloon in prevalence.