Achtung! You Will Soon Subscribe to Your Car

By Paul Riegler on 6 April 2018
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Until recently, owning a car meant just that: either purchasing a car outright or leasing a new vehicle. For those who didn’t want to own a car, a few carsharing options such as Zipcar were available in some areas. Now a new option is emerging, namely cars by subscription.

BMW is the latest automaker to offer a car-by-subscription program. Access by BMW was introduced as a pilot in Nashville, Tennessee at the start of April.

BMW is following in the footsteps of Cadillac, Ford, Porsche, and Volvo, which have all introduced similar subscription options in the past two years. Similar to other programs, Access by BMW will provide its members with a selection of vehicles available on a monthly basis.

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The car-subscription model appears to be a counter to city dwellers who don’t want to own and garage a car, at least not for 12 months a year, and who can use public transportation or ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft except when longer trips are planned.

A subscription model, which requires less commitment than a lease or purchase, is more convenient than car-sharing services such as Zipcar and could have great appeal to millenials and others who purportedly avoid car ownership.

Access by BMW offers a range of cars from 4 Series coupes or cabriolets, X5 SUVs, to 5 Series sedans, for $2,000 per month. A more costly performance tier will include access to BMW M cars including the M4, M5, and X6M models.

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