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The days of owning a car could be fading away, thanks to these alternatives

The days of owning a car could be fading away, thanks to these alternatives

March 21, 2017 / No Comments

Recent years have seen an explosion in services that offer a product for a flat monthly fee. No longer the domain of magazines or newspapers, the subscription model now supports everything from streaming music to clothing shipments.

Now, that approach is increasingly coming to the automobile. Since its debut in February, between 4,000 and 5,000 people have signed up for a Cadillac pilot project that lets drivers swap one automobile for another almost as easily as they can switch TV shows, according to the company.

The program, known as Book by Cadillac, charges $1,500 a month and lets drivers cancel anytime. The premium service grants access to 10 Cadillac models. Using a smartphone, customers can trade in their vehicles up to 18 times a year. So far, the program has only been available in the New York City area, but in light of its popularity, it could expand to other big cities, Cadillac said.

“There’s potential for global expansion,” said Andrew Lipman, a Cadillac spokesman. “There are a lot of ways we can expand this. But we want to hone in and perfect the program here in New York first.”

The Cadillac project is targeted at consumers of luxury vehicles. But GM has also explored a similar business model in its more mainstream Chevrolet line, with a test program launched earlier this month known as Maven Reserve. That service allows drivers in Los Angeles and San Francisco to rent a Chevy Tahoe or Volt for up to 28 days for a flat monthly fee. Both programs appear superficially similar to leasing, but are more expensive, cover maintenance and insurance and come with added perks, such as Cadillac’s on-the-fly swapping system and Maven’s offer of $100 worth of fuel and a dedicated parking space for each rental.

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