When you here the word “subscription”, you probably think of magazines or maybe cheese-of-the-month club. Well, there are a variety of products available through subscriptions and vehicles are one of them. Vehicle subscription services are becoming one of the most talked about services of 2018. Volvo, Cadillac, and other car makers have experienced this type of service with their own makes and models in order to figure out whether or not the vehicles subscriptions will make them money or ending up costing them money.
Now, it seems, that Mercedes-Benz is throwing their hat in the ring as well. Mercedes is the latest car maker to decide to have a flat-rate subscription vehicle program and they are hoping to extend the services to the US sometime this year.
The German car maker, known for its uber-luxury vehicles, is a division of Daimler AG and can trace their origins all the way back to 1901. The company’s slogan, “the best or nothing” has most definitely proven to be true in the past and now we wait to see if it will yet again prove to be true with this venture as well.
A pilot test of the vehicle subscription service has been running in Germany, referred to as “Mercedes me Flexperience”, allowing those who wish to subscribe to receive up to twelve vehicles a year from one of four groups, the A-, C-, E-, and S-Classes. Although Mercedes-Benz intends on bringing this service to America as well, it is not clear at this time if the service will be similar to its German counterpart, but it’s assumed that it will share the same basic principles.
German subscribers use a platform which is located online in order to schedule their vehicle exchanges, allowing them to also see what’s available and when. A customer who has subscribed to a lower-level tier subscription may decide they want a higher-level vehicle for a special occasion. In this case, the customer would be allowed to exchange his current vehicle for the specialty model by simply paying a fee for upgrading.
The luxury car maker will handle all requests, scheduled deliveries, and pick-ups via the online website. Those who subscribe will be allowed to choose exactly what they want, including interior motifs, exterior colors, and even how powerful the engine is. These customized features will be chosen ahead of delivery and are included in the price.
The German company’s global head of sales, Britta Seeger, says they plan to have something ready for the US within the year, saying they are in the final stages of fine tuning the services plans. Although Mercedes-Benz didn’t estimate what each vehicle tier currently costs in Germany, they did admit that the rates include a variety of additional services, such as tires, repairs, scheduled maintenance, full-coverage insurance and about twenty-three thousand miles a year. Obviously, the S-Class will come with premium subscription prices, but the others should be more affordable.
As a comparison, Porsche offers a vehicle subscription service with two tiers, one with less well-equipped vehicles, for around two thousand a month, and one with more expensive models, around three thousand a month. Of course, whether or not these prices can be compared to those of the Mercedes-Benz tiers is yet to be seen, but it at least give a potential idea of what the services may cost.
It’s not known when, where, or how the company will begin to enroll the US in a pilot program, but there are several tasks the car maker will have to overcome in order to bring the vehicle subscription service to the states once it finally decides to go for it, such as dealership associations. Dealerships may feel that the car maker will actually drive customers away from buying and away from their showroom floors with this service. After all, Tesla has had this same problem with seemingly no resolution.
If the German vehicle subscription service proves to be successful, we can expect the same experience to be launched in the US sometime this year, Mercedes-Benz has already announced its intentions to expand to additional markets as soon as possible.
Leasing used to entail getting a car for one or two years, then getting a new one at the end of the time period and you somewhat limited to keeping the one car for the duration. Now, with this new vehicle subscription program, you can have a different car each and every month of the year. What’s best is that if anything happens to it, whether mechanically or cosmetically, it’s covered.