This shift is initially happening by degrees, with legacy brands looking to build subscription-like services into their larger sales strategies.
Available exclusively to pre-existing customers, Bentley on Demand, described by the marque as a ‘luxury mobility solution’, embellishes the standard ownership model, rather than replaces it. Accessed through the Bentley Network app, the free service allows customers to borrow a vehicle, from across the brand’s range, for occasions when the customer’s own vehicle is inappropriate, such as during longer trips, or when traveling overseas. Vehicles are conveyed to and from the customer’s chosen location, with a concierge explaining the car’s key features before handover, combining an element of product discovery within the core car-hire offer.
BOOK by Cadillac is the American car brand’s latest attempt to introduce first-time drivers to the luxury end of its line-up. The concierge service, which costs £1,397 ($1,800, €1,553) per month, launched in New York in February 2017, before expanding to other major American cities, such as Los Angeles and Dallas. The subscription works on a month-to-month rolling contract and can be cancelled with 30 days’ notice. Members can swap their vehicle up to 18 times per year, managing their selections through a proprietary app.
It is important to note that, in the long run, Cadillac sees this new service as a sales tool rather than an end in itself, hoping that users will eventually convert to leasing or purchasing their preferred car. The gamble is that, while today’s younger drivers are rejecting traditional ownership models, they might revert as they get older.
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