Subscription Services: A New Alternative To Buying Or Leasing

Subscription businesses are rapidly evolving and allows consumers to look at products in a new, personalized way.

Monthly car subscriptions offer a new and more flexible alternative to owning or leasing a vehicle. Depending on the company, the packages include a monthly fee for the vehicle, auto insurance and maintenance.

There are two types of subscription services, ones offered by automakers and those offered by third-party companies.

The following are the subscription services offered by manufactures, starting with the least expensive plan for basic models:

Care by Volvo

Volvo unveiled its Care by Volvo subscription service at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2017. As of now, only XC40 models are available but Volvo says it will offer all the models in its subscription service.

The subscriber pays a $500 which is applied to the first month’s payment. Plans for the XC40 starts at $600 a month and goes up to $700 for the T5 R-Design. The plan only allows people to switch cars every 12 months.

As part of the excess wear and protection plans included in the service, Volvo forgives the first $1,000 in mileage overages and damages. The plan also includes a road hazard plan for tires and wheels. The first three services at 10,000, 20,000 and 30,000 miles that includes break pads, wiper blades and fluids are included in the maintenance plan as well.

Carpe by Jaguar Land Rover

As of now, Carpe is only available in the U.K. A basic car model has a monthly fee of $1,200 that includes the car, auto insurance and maintenance. Higher end models can cost about $2,900 a month.

Mercedes-Benz Collection

The process to join this subscription service is pretty simple. All they have to do is download the Mercedes-Benz app and send a picture of their driver’s license and a decision notification should arrive within 24 hours. There is a $495 application fee as well.

Mercedes-Benz’s Reserve tier costs $1,595 a month for cars including the c43 AMG, the E400 wagon and the GLE350 SUV. For the Premier tier and $2,995 a month, users can get a C63 S sedan, a G550 SUV or an SL550 roadster.

Book by Cadillac 

Cadillac’s subscription service was among the first in the industry when it started in January 2017. It is currently offered in New York City but will be available to customers in Dallas and Los Angeles in the near future.

To enroll, users pay a $500 enrollment fee and an additional $1,800 a month. The deductible for the offered insurance coverage is $1,000 and if cars are not returned cleaned, users can be fined $150 per car. If the user is married, the spouse can also drive the cars as well. A subscriber can switch cars up to 18 times a year.

Access by BMW

With BMW’s subscription services, users can can order vehicles on the Access by BMW app. The monthly subscription fee includes auto insurance and roadside assistance. The program is currently managed by BMW dealers and is only available in Nashville.

BMW has two tiers, BMW Legend and M. Legend costs $2,000 a month and includes vehicles like the 4 and 5-Series, X5 (except M models) and the M2. For $3,700 a month, M tier members can select the M4 Convertible, M5, M6 Convertible, X5M and X6M.

Porsche Passport

Members of Porsche Passport pay a $500 application fee and can pick from two tiers. The Launch tier costs $2,200 a month and offers unlimited access to CaymandsBoxstersMacans and Cayennes. The Accelerate plan costs a steep $3,000 a month but includes the 911 and Panamera.

Porsche’s plans include full-detail car washes, unlimited number of car changes and not mileage restrictions. However, the insurance deductible is $1,000. Unfortunately, the service is only available in Atlanta.

Lexus Complete Lease

Lexus’ subscription services will start in the first quarter of 2019 and will be available in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami. The program will be a two-year, 20,000 contract that includes auto insurance and maintenance.

If these subscriptions do not interest you, there are another six third-party subscription services to choose from:


Borrow is a three, six or nine month subscription service for electric cars. Borrow offers a more economical City plan and a Premium plan. Maintenance and roadside assistance are included in the monthly payment. However, drivers have to provide their own insurance.


Canvas is backed by Ford Credit and only offers used, off-lease Ford and Lincoln vehicles. Insurance is provided by the plan and also includes Ford’s Protect Premium Maintenance Plan. Canvas has three options to choose from: subscription length, car type and mileage. The monthly subscription fee depends on what the customer selects.


Carma is still relatively new and the details are still being worked out. The service is based out of Detroit and has pilots running in Chicago and Columbus, Ohio.


To sign up for fair, users download the app and scan their license and undergo a soft credit check to get approved. Routine services are included but it does require the driver to get their own insurance. Fair also requires a start payment that is based on the value of the car selected.


Flexdrive charges a weekly fee, depending on the car selected as well as a mileage fee. Insurance and routine maintenance are both included in the fee. Flexdrive does not offer new vehicles, model years included in the service range from 2014 to 2017. For now, Flexdrive is only offered in parts of Georgia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas.


Less is a Bay-area service that offers three-year contracts with an annual fee of $399. During those three years, subscribers are allowed to change cars once. The monthly payment is paid to the car dealer that car comes from and varies depending on model type and year. The contract has a 12,000 miles per year limit and has a fee of $0.25 for extra miles. Maintenance is included but drivers must provide their own insurance.