Your Next Car Might Be A Subscription

As car companies see people willing to ditch their vehicles, they’re responding by offering more flexible options.


Instead of owning one car, what if you got whatever car you want, just when you needed it?Four-figure down payments, cumbersome lease lengths, and skyrocketing insurance costs: it’s enough to send a would-be car shopper running for an Uber or Lyft.

That’s why more automakers are rolling out flat-fee programs that aim to make leasing a car as simple as buying a smartphone. In a bid to keep potential customers from defecting to ride-hailing services and foregoing personal car ownership, brands like Volvo, Cadillac, and Porsche are upending the traditional retail model by developing app-based monthly subscription services that provide vehicles on demand.

When Volvo’s new XC40 SUV arrives at dealerships this spring, subscribers to the brand’s new Care by Volvo program will pay a minimum of $600 a month– depending on the trim level–for a package that includes maintenance, insurance, and 15,000 miles annually. They can switch to a new Volvo after a year or renew their lease for up to two more years. Taxes, gas, and registration fees are not included.

“We are seeing a new way of having a car,” says Volvo President and CEO Håkan Samuelsson. “That’s why we’re offering a flat rate independently of your age or where you live. People living in big cities normally pay a very high insurance fee.”