Unsubscribe: BMW and Audi to drop cars by subscription

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BMW and Audi’s experiments with car subscription services are over, according to a report by Automotive News.

Access BMW was launched in 2018 as a pilot in the Nashville region and charged customers from just over $1000 per month for an entry-level car with no long-term commitment. The scheme was a ‘”just add fuel” offering, with insurance, maintenance, and all taxes covered. Access BMW is to be axed from the end of January, with a BMW spokesman telling Automotive News, “Our intent with the pilot was to learn about the viability of the subscription model and gauge customer interest. We are in the process of developing the next iteration of the program.”

Audi Select will also be dropped from the end of January. Like BMW, Audi launched its pilot service in 2018 in a limited area. Just five Dallas-Fort Worth dealerships offered the service. Other brands to have tried and subsequently ditched subscriptions include Cadillac and Ford. Porsche seems to have found some success with its scheme, however, and has expanded from its Atlanta launch to include Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Diego, and Toronto.

Volvo, meanwhile, is going its own way with Care by Volvo. A hybrid of a traditional lease and a subscription, the deal includes insurance and maintenance but users commit to a 24-month subscription, although it can be canceled after four months in most states.

Despite the convenience of these subscription services, the market doesn’t seem to have embraced them. Maybe that’s because, for many of us, cars are objects of desire to be treated as treasured possessions, not just utilities.

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