Audi is the latest automaker to experiment with a subscription service, allowing customers to access a car whenever they want for a flat monthly fee in lieu of buying or leasing. Available only in the Dallas-Fort Worth area at the moment, Audi Select bundles car, insurance, maintenance, roadside assistance, and access to Silvercar rentals for $1,395 per month.
The service allows Texans to swap cars twice per month, either at an Audi dealership or at home. Available models include the A4 2.0T sedan, A5 2.0T convertible, S5 coupe, Q5 2.0T, and Q7 3.0T SUVs. The S5 gets the top Prestige trim level, while the other models get the base Premium and midlevel Premium Plus trims.
"Audi is building an ecosystem that allows consumers to access the brand how they want, when they want, and where they want," Audi of America president Scott Keogh said in a statement. "Working closely with our dealer network in the Dallas area, Audi Select is an important next step in offering customers premium mobility solutions with options and flexibility that fit their lives."
The automaker said in a statement said Texas was chosen because of its strong year-over-year vehicle sales. Through May of this year, Audi sales in the Lone Star State were double the average pace in the premium-car segment, according to data from research firm IHS Automotive cited by Audi. The automaker did not discuss plans to offer Audi Select elsewhere.
Audi Select customers who travel to other cities also get two days of Silvercar rentals per month. Audi bought the Austin-based rental company last year and now supplies Silvercar with vehicles, so customers will always be able to drive an Audi wherever they go, an important consideration given that Audi Select functions as a branding exercise for Audi.
The German automaker is making predictions that technological changes could eat into new-car sales considerably. In addition to buying Silvercar, Audi runs the Audi On Demand car-sharing service in certain cities. These projects give Audi a way to access consumers even if they aren't buying its cars. Other automakers, including Cadillac, Lincoln, and Porsche, have launched their own subscription services for the same reason. Mobiliti is also marketing a subscription service for car dealers, where customers borrow cars from dealer inventory.