RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Owning a car can be expensive – especially when you add in the costs of maintenance and insurance.
But, there’s a new pay-as-you-go trend out there which might appeal to some drivers – subscribing to a car for short periods of time.
Once, buying a car was pretty much the only way to own one.
Then, a lot of car dealers began offering leasing options.
Now, you can subscribe to a car and it offers more flexibility for shorter periods of time than leasing or renting a car.
“One appealing thing is lower upfront costs. There’s not a down payment or drive-off fee,” said Carroll Lachnit, the senior consumer advice Editor for Edmunds, which has an extensive guide to subscription cars online.
When you subscribe to a car, you access as much or as little car as you need.
You can subscribe for a week or a month depending on the service you choose. Also, insurance, maintenance and roadside assistance are included in your monthly fee.
If you subscribe to a car, you’re not locked into one model.
Let’s say you want a compact car for commuting around town for weekdays. You can do that. But, on the weekend, you want something sportier, so you swap out for a convertible. Or, let’s say you need something to carry a bigger load. You swap out for an SUV.
“The downside is that it’s not your car,” says Lachnit. “You don’t own it, and there are restrictions on how you can use it.”
For example, there are mileage limitations, prohibitions on smoking in the car and requirements that dogs be crated. Also all subscription cars are GPS tracked by the companies that own them.
“You also agree when you sign up for this, that they can check your driving record while you are part of the program,” said Lachnit.
So, multiple speeding tickets or a DWI could terminate your deal.
Costs vary. Right now, only Volvo and a company called Drive Flow are offering car subscriptions here in the Triangle.
Volvo’s Care program starts at $600 a month.
Drive Flow starts at $850 a month.
You’ll need to do the math to see it it’s worth it for you.
There are lots of these subscription programs coming onto the market and new offerings are coming up all the time, so if you don’t see something that appeals to you right now, wait. It may become available in your area soon.WHAT OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON:
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