Lincoln Quietly Expands Used Car Subscription Service
The subscription service is a gamble Lincoln sees worth taking.
The auto market is weird right now. Everybody is buying an SUV, electric cars have come out of the woodwork, and now you can buy into a car subscription service like you're signing up for Netflix. On Wednesday, Lincoln quietly announced its launch into the luxury subscription service business, a model which follows several other manufacturers who believe that this kind of service will be how people drive in the future.
Just don't call it a lease, because it's more than that. Drivers pay a flat fee and are allocated a vehicle to drive. This cost covers not only the fees to drive the car, but also insurance, a warranty, maintenance packages, and roadside assistance. The packages are also extremely flexible for how long you plan to drive the car, ranging anywhere from a single month of use to an entire year. Best of all, drivers can elect to swap their vehicle at any time.
This isn't necessarily a new venture for Lincoln, as it has been operating a beta version of this service in California since 2017. Parent company Ford operates a near-identical service and stated that it had around 600 customers subscribing to the program in February.
A big focus on the benefits to subscribing to Lincoln's service revolves around how much time the service saves the consumer. Given that Lincoln is a luxury brand, it has identified that its customers value their time above most other things when going about day-to-day life. It plans to capitalize on that belief by offering subscribers conveniences that help to minimize inconveniences. For example, should the car break down, Lincoln's warranty will (at no extra charge) take care of everything from picking the car up, to providing a loaner, and returning the car once service has been completed. In select cities, Lincoln also offers a personal driver to chauffeur the customer around if requested.
Lincoln hasn't yet released a price point for the expanded service, however, Ford's service, which operates in the same areas and doesn't target luxury customers as much, starts at around $400 per month.
Can convenience outweigh the traditional car ownership model? Several other manufacturers are willing to bet that it at least fulfills an untapped income source, as they have already begun to dip into this market space. Automakers like Cadillac, Porsche, and Volvo have identified that a subscription service may be a preferred method of ownership when compared to traditional car buying and have plans to launch or expand their own services.