Who’s driving? Car subscription services you should know
Ride sharing and short-term car rental service’s new, world-wide popularity is pushing boundaries in the automotive industry, redefining our relationship with cars. Car subscription services, the newest fad in personal transportation, seek to push those boundaries even further, filling a market space gap between ride sharing and car owning or leasing. It sounds great on paper: for a simple recurring fee, you get your car (or cars), and a handful of nice extras like insurance, maintenance, and sometimes even a concierge service.
The aim is to offer a more flexible, personalized, more financially fluid alternative to leasing or owning. But like all exciting new marketplaces, the car subscription landscape is growing and changing fast. And with each brand coming to the plate with its own take on the car subscription concept, it’s becoming more and more apparent that not all subscription services are created equal. Choosing the right service for you can turn into a mess of a web search.
That’s where we come in. Let’s take a look at the best, most popular car subscription services currently out there.
What’s a car subscription service in the first place?
Glad you asked! Think of car subscription services as the car equivalent of your favorite music or film streaming services. In both cases you pay an all-inclusive monthly fee for curated access to a company’s inventory – in this case, cars. This monthly fee can cover a multitude of, what would be, extra costs if you were to lease or buy; things like insurance, registration, roadside assistance. However, each company’s offerings are different and, in most cases, service is limited geographically.
Some companies allow you to switch between tons of different vehicles whenever you want, some only let you pick one vehicle, some are closer to long-term rental services while others are more akin to traditional leases. Like all new services, monthly car subscription services are still figuring out what it is that you, the customer, really wants, and how to best provide it to you.
What’s out there?
Between start-ups, dealerships, and car manufacturers all trying to get into the car subscription game, there’s A LOT to choose from. This can be both a good and a tricky thing. Some services operate nationwide, while others service single regions or even cities. Some emphasize affordability, while others emphasize luxury. Regardless, there’s bound to be something right for you. Let’s take a look at the top car subscription services out there.
Audi Select – Audi’s service operates in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and offers a two-tiered approach to their pricing: the $995 per month “Core Collection” and the $1,495 per month “Premier Collection”. Both tier’s prices cover insurance, maintenance, concierge service, registration – all the extras you should expect to be covered with luxury brand services. The main difference between the two tiers are the cars available to you. The “Core Collection” comes with Audi’s more affordable cars (the A4, S3 Q5, and TT), while the “Premier Collection” is all about luxury, offering all the core collection cars and the S5 Coupe, A6, Q7, and S5 Cabriolet. Whichever tier you choose, you’ll be able to swap out vehicles twice per month. It’s no surprise that one of the top car companies out there has also become one of the top car companies with a car subscription service.
Ameridrive – Servicing parts of Georgia, Florida, and Texas, Ameridrive forgoes the monthly fee in favor of a weekly fee and also makes their cars available for use as ride-sharing vehicles. Geared towards people who simply need a car to get the job done or are looking to work for a ride-sharing service, Ameridrive’s fleet includes cars from all your recognizable brands – each with their own individual weekly fee. Expect to pay anywhere between around $100 to $400 per week, depending on which car you choose.
Kyte – San Francisco-based start-up Kyte, partners with local dealerships and rental fleets to provide car subscription service to parts of San Francisco, Boston, and Los Angeles. Also geared more towards utility rather than luxury, subscribers choose a car type with its own monthly price- either economy, sedan, or SUV – instead of a specific model. Though insurance and roadside assistance aren’t included in your monthly price, where Kyte shines is in its simplicity and ease of use. Everything, from the website to the app and the customer service is simple, easy, and user friendly. Economy cars come in at $494 per month, while sedans come in at $532 per month and SUVs at $606 per month.
Currux – Currux, which services the Houston metro are, is a popular car subscription service that offers tons of flexibility. Depending on what you want, it can more closely resemble a traditional lease agreement, or a car-sharing program. Subscribers choose from a variety of popular brand cars – each with their own set of services included in their individual monthly fee – and commit to that car for either 6, 12, or 24 months. Unique to Currux, however, is the option to split the cost of subscribing to a car with up to three other Currux subscribers. It’s kind of like sharing a car between friends – whoever needs it that weekend can use it. And cars can range from a pretty cheap $362 per month, to a more luxurious $1,325 per month.
Fair – Fair offers subscribers in California and Florida access to a marketplace of used vehicles to which they can subscribe either on a monthly basis, or through a 2 or 3 year lease agreement. Prices usually run from $190 to $705 per month. Fair also has a two-day, 100 mile return policy that’s unique in the car subscription market. Once per year, If you have driven your new Fair car for less than 100 miles in the first days two days of its term, you can return your subscribed car and get all your money back. Think of Fair as a modernized, more flexible lease situation for used cars, with the option to go for the per-month commitment.
LMP Subscriptions – Operating in Florida, Connecticut, and New York, LMP Subscriptions buys new and used cars from dealerships and offers them first for subscription, then later for sale as used vehicles. Subscribers choose to either subscribe on a per-month basis to an individual car with its own unique monthly fee either indefinitely, or for 6, 12, or 24 months, or subscribe to a car for either 6 or 12 months with the purpose of then buying the used car outright after the subscription term is completed. The monthly fees can be pretty low too, even as low as $70 (though there are also one-time activation fees for each car).
Access by BMW – Like pretty much every luxury car manufacturer testing out the car subscription waters, BMW’s service is quite geographically limited, only serving the Nashville, TN area. That said, Access by BMW succeeds in offering all the best aspects of car subscription service, combined with the luxury and quality for which BMW is known. Subscribers choose between a three-tiered payment plan, each offering unlimited monthly swaps. The Icon, Legend, and BMW M plans come in at $995, $1,399, and $2,699 per month respectively, and each offer an increasing variety of available BMW models – starting with 3 available models in the icon tier, and ending with a whopping 13 BMW models in the BMW M plan. Though the price is high, with Access by BMW you definitely get what you pay for.
As you can see, each of these popular car subscriptions offer vastly different services – and this is just a taste of what’s out there. There are tons of other luxury car manufacturers, rental companies, start-ups, and even local car dealerships that are all trying to stake out a claim in the car subscription market. It’s an exciting, rapidly growing industry and the time is right to see if there’s something out there for you. Finding the right service is as easy as checking out our comprehensive reviews.