BEHIND THE WHEEL
Drivers can rent vehicles using a subscription model
Commitment-averse young consumers have given rise to subscription models for just about everything, and Volvo predicts that in the future, this will apply even to cars. It’s already begun; drivers can rent cars from one another in the peer-to-peer marketplace and riders can subscribe to a ride-share service. These brands offer subscription services as an alternative to owning a car, bringing the future even closer.
Car subscription service Canvas is backed by Ford, offering exclusively Ford and Lincoln vehicles, currently available in LA and San Francisco. Although the models available are greatly varied, users aren’t renting new cars, but used off-lease vehicles. The model is flexible, allowing users to select a lease for one month up to 12 months, with the price decreasing as the term is lengthened. Canvas also has differing mileage plans depending on the distance driven each month, with the basic option of 500 miles or less/month included free of charge.
Detroit is known for its hometown pride, but its reputation as an automobile-making magnate is hitting speed bumps; General Motors recently laid off 14,000 workers to help finance its self-driving car operations. Mobiliti, a startup located down the road from GM, is keeping Detroit on the auto map with its subscription service. Using the app, customers can lease a vehicle, including everything from a Chevy Cruze to a Land Rover Discovery, on a month-to-month basis, swapping vehicles every 30 days if they wish.
Also based out of Detroit, Carma provides a similar car subscription service with a twist; it works with dealerships to provide the best process and offerings rather than employing a direct-to-consumer model. Carma offers dealerships a way to utilize extra inventory and older model cars that haven’t sold and monetize an abundance of used vehicles. Consumers use the Carma app, but the process is specific to a dealership or group of dealerships, giving them the opportunity to retain direct contact with the consumer.