New Car Subscriptions: Could They Be an Alternative to Buying a New Car?
Buying a new car can be a huge expense, with many people forced to take out multi-year car loans to afford a vehicle to drive. This is why it is so important for motorists to research cars carefully to find a reliable vehicle and why consumers whose cars turn out to be defective should consult with a California motor vehicle lemon law lawyer.
Because cars are such a big investment that many see as a waste of money since cars depreciate quickly after purchase, new alternatives are currently being developed: car subscription services. According to USA Today, these subscription services are springing up in cities across the country and are providing a new alternative to traditional vehicle ownership.
Could Car Subscription Services be an Alternative to New Vehicles?
Car subscription services essentially work by offering consumers a vehicle with a warranty, maintenance, roadside assistance, insurance, and a set mileage allowance. Consumers pay a fixed monthly fee to get all of these services in one convenient package.
USA Today indicates that many of the most popular car manufacturers already offer these services in several major cities in California, New York, Georgia, and other locales in the Midwest and the South. Some of the current services include Book by Cadillac; Access by BMW; Passport by Porsche; Care by Volvo; and Canvas by Ford and Lincoln. Collection is also going soon be offered by Mercedes. Currently, only Volvo's program is available nationwide; however, other car makers are expanding their offerings and car dealers and startups are also beginning to get into the game.
Care is also unique because it is the only program that offers brand new vehicles as part of its subscription services. Most of the car makers offer slightly older cars, including vehicles that are one model older than the current year.
Subscription services are marketed as a way to have a car without stress that is much more convenient and that does not require a long-term commitment. Typically, the subscriber pays a startup fee and must go through a check of their driving record. They also are required to submit credit card information and may need to undergo a credit check. Once approved, drivers pay a fixed monthly fee depending upon which program they are participating in and which vehicle they use. The car they've chosen is then delivered, freshly detailed, to the subscriber.
However, the services generally acknowledge that subscribing to a new car is not the cheapest way to have a vehicle.
Further, many of the services impose restrictions on the ways the vehicles are used. These restrictions can go beyond mileage restrictions; for example, pets are typically required to be in crates when inside of the vehicles. The programs generally also require that the cars come equipped with GPS trackers in order to make sure that the car company can get the car back if the subscriber defaults on payments or uses too many miles.
If you're thinking of using a subscription service, make sure you understand total costs and restrictions. If, on the other hand, you decide to buy a new vehicle, be sure you know your rights as a consumer and that you get help from a California motor vehicle lemon law lawyer if you have problems with your vehicle.