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Car Subscription Services: Pros, Cons, Costs; Worthy?

Car subscription companies aren't for everyone, but it's a good option for a variety of drivers.

Forget about fitting winter tires to your loan car this year. Instead, take out a car subscription on an SUV for six months when the weather is at its worst. In the spring, exchange it for a convertible.

It costs the same or less than a loan vehicle, and you don’t have to worry about servicing costs, insurance, road tax or breakdown cover. These are taken care of in the lease agreement in some car subscription services.

Car subscription services are a good option for some car consumers seeking a new or used car.
Car subscription services are a good option for some car consumers seeking a new or used car. Image © James Raia.

What Is A Car Subscription Service?

Around 6 1/2 billion people globally own a smartphone, which translates to around 90 percent of adults. What this means is the vast majority of the population is familiar with the subscription model used by smartphones, as well as TV subscriptions and streaming services

Subscription services have become the norm, and car subscriptions work the same way. Consumers pay a flat monthly fee for the car with varying and adjustable mileage limits.

Advantages Of Car Subscriptions

If you want to buy or own a car, there are options. Since many people don’t buy cars outright, they lease them or take out a higher purchase agreement. This allows you to pay off the car as you use it, then sell it or change it for another vehicle. These options require an initial deposit.

Car subscription service off traditional gas, hybrid and electric vehicles.
Car subscription service offer traditional gas, hybrid and electric vehicles. Image © James Raia/2022

A subscription doesn’t require a deposit. Instead, you sign an agreement and drive off in a car of your choice. A further advantage of the subscription model is that you don’t have to pay for the vehicle if you don’t use it for a month or two. Learn about the benefits of a fleet card for rentals.

Disadvantages Of Car Subscriptions

There are downsides to car subscriptions. It’s not ideal for everyone. You pay monthly for several years, but you will never own the car. Some consumers believe it’s wasted money.

Additionally, many subscription providers don’t allow people of a certain age to drive vehicles. For Cazoo, you need to be at least 25. Jaguar has a minimum age of 30. There also may be different insurance requirements between owning or getting a subscription service.

 

Like Mercedes-Benz? New and used vehicles are available from car subscription services.
Like Mercedes-Benz? New and used vehicles are available from car subscription services. Image © Bruce Aldrich/2021

Car Subscription Service Options

The market for car subscriptions is growing. The model is so popular and successful that many of the big brand car companies have started to offer a subscription model as part of their services. Additionally, many independent rental providers are coming along.

There are many car subscription providers to choose from, so shop around and choose one that aligns best with your requirements. The vast majority of providers don’t use vehicles over three years old, so they are guaranteed a reliable car. It is also a good way to trial an electric vehicle as well.

Here a several car subscription companies:

Mycardirect

Offering new and used cars to the market, Mycardirect is a new company. Its team comes with a financial pedigree in the car-financing industry. Benefits include fan all-inclusive service and user-friendly customer experience.

Sports cars, sedans, SUV and other vehicle types are available from car subscription services
Like luxury sport sedans? New and used vehicles are available from car subscription services. Image © Bruce Aldrich/2022

Wagonex

As one of the originators of the car subscription model, Wagonex started in 2016. Its philosophy is that you can have an SUV for winter and a convertible for summer using a subscription service. Why not take them up on the offer?

Flexed

If you want a professional and reliable subscription car for a reasonable monthly rate, Flexed is a good choice. It provides a fleet of more than 2,000 vehicles, so finding a good fit is likely. It has EVs and hybrid  vehicles as well as conventional gas engine cars

Elmo

If you’re eco-conscious and you want a subscription car, check out Elmo. It has a fleet of electric vehicles for lease at competitive rates. Its cars also benefit from insurance coverage road tax and breakdown coverage. Elmo is only available for customers at least age 30.

Cacoon

Based in Derbyshire, England, Cacoon is a family-operated business with a vehicle fleet for subscription. Cocoon provides reliable vehicles but had limitations. It’s a no-frills subscription service, meaning you have to source your insurance and tax.

Are Subscription Services Cheaper?

The answer is yes and no. It depends on your financial philosophy. A subscription car service might seem like quite a substantial amount to pay for a car — even in comparison to a hire purchase agreement. But the benefit is the total cost of ownership (TCO).

When you have have purchase agreement, you pay a monthly fee to use the vehicle. It goes toward long-term ownership; it’s an investment. However, the total cost of ownership also includes insurance, deposits, charging and routine servicing costs.

Is A Subscription Service Better?

A car subscription is better for certain people. It’s why the model has grown so popular so quickly. Although you need to use the car for at least one week to make it worthwhile, subscription cars offer a flexible range of services for certain consumers.

A range of factors, such as the desire to escape from expensive car contracts and the lower costs associated with non-car ownership, also make subscription services attractive. Car providers offer car users can and excellent quality vehicles to operate without the responsibility or costs of long-term ownership.

Short-term vehicle rental at a low cost, immediate access to a low-cost car for your purposes, a rental car without the long-term commitment of a higher purchase agreement and cheaper costs for insurance and servicing are all attractive benefits.

Content provided by The Weekly Driver News Service and additional news sources


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