Have you tried to rent a car lately? It’s gotten very pricey.
While we were on lockdown, nobody traveled. So, car rental companies cut their losses by selling most their fleet. Now that there’s blue sky on the horizon, we’re ready to bust out and hit the road.
Prepare to pay dearly. Before you rent, or buy…have you considered subscribing?
Car subscriptions are the hottest thing in travel, and sure to disrupt the auto industry. Unlike a fixed lease, car subscriptions are much looser. It’s a pay-as-you-go arrangement, like an open-ended car rental. There’s typically no fee to join, and your subscription includes insurance coverage, maintenance and roadside assistance. Keep the car for as long as you like, whether a few months or a few years. There’s usually no sign-up fee and no standing at the rental counter. The car is booked online, then delivered to your home. Just cancel when you’re done.
Car subscriptions are projected to own 10% of the market, quickly. For now, they’re aimed at the premium market. But that will grow with broader acceptance.
Here’s my take. While baby boomers prefer to own their music, books and cars, younger folks don’t. Automakers are stunned that millennials don’t need a car, or seem to want one. They demand flexibility, and options. Not slick dealerships, big down payments and binding contracts.
So, car makers and rental companies are pivoting.
Hertz, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo are the first to go all-in on the subscription model. And why not? It gives us the freedom to drive a hybrid around town, swap it for a sportscar on weekends, and take an SUV on vacation.