Mercedes-Benz Announces Subscription Service

Benz follows its luxury competition into the subscription market.

Daimler AG

Mercedes-Benz has been linked to American market subscription services in recent weeks, and in a press release Thursday, the company confirmed it will launch a subscription service, Mercedes-Benz Collection, to be rolled out in pilot markets of Philadelphia and Nashville, Tennessee.

Like other vehicular services of this type, it will allow subscribers to hop between the brand's cars that fit their changing day-to-day needs and desires. A hybrid for quiet, low-cost commuting during the week, a convertible for the scenic drive, or an SUV to tow a boat trailer. Mercedes-Benz says options include coupes, cabriolets, roadsters, sedans, wagons, and SUVs, presumably encompassing crossovers under the SUV umbrella. Varying price tiers will determine what vehicles a subscriber has access to, as we presume that the tire-torturing AMG performance models (Mercedes says they will be available) might be limited to applicants willing to pay for higher subscription tiers.

The service will be operated via an app through which customers will be able to request available vehicles. Mileage will not be limited, and as required by law, insurance will be handled by Mercedes, as will the conveniences of maintenance and roadside assistance.

Subscription services are enticing luxury car manufacturers from every corner of the globe. Benz's Bavarian brother, BMW, has plans to operate a similar service in Nashville, where the two will be direct competitors. Cadillac pioneered the market for American marques early last year and found enough success to expand its services last month. Lincoln, seeking revitalization, is also investing in such services

Neither Audi nor any of Fiat-Chrysler's brands have shown much if any desire to leap into the ring, but if their competitors find the business profitable, they may have no choice but to enter the market themselves.