Automakers and even dealerships are offering subscription services as an alternative to car buying or leasing, and now rental company Enterprise is getting in on the action. The new Subscribe by Enterprise service is now being rolled out in Nevada, Missouri, and Minnesota, with more states to follow in the near future.
Subscriptions are priced at $1,499 a month, plus taxes and fees, of course. Enterprise requires customers to sign up for at least two months, and pay a $250 enrollment fee to start. After that, customers get access to a fleet of vehicles encompassing 20 different makes and models, according to Enterprise. The choices range from sedans to pickup trucks, but not all vehicles will be available in all areas, noted Autoblog.
The subscription fee includes insurance, maintenance costs, roadside assistance, and SiriusXM satellite radio where available. Customers get 3,000 miles a month, which Enterprise claims is more than most traditional leases. However, the monthly fee is also much higher than many lease payments. Customers will have to do the math to determine if the inclusion of extras like insurance and maintenance makes Subscribe by Enterprise a good deal. Unused miles don't roll over to the next month, and Enterprise charges $0.40 for each mile over the limit.
A subscription service acts as a hedge against consumer trends that could disrupt Enterprise's main rental business. Like automakers, Enterprise must protect against the prospect of consumers giving up driving in favor of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft.
The ability to swap between different brands could help Enterprise's subscription service stand out. Most other subscription services currently available are operated by automakers, meaning that even if customers can swap between different models, they must stay within the same brand. Automaker subscription services also tend to be run by high-end brands, such as Volvo and Mercedes-Benz, but Enterprise's current rental fleet is mostly made up of more common or "mainstream" vehicles. Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how customers react to a subscription service offering mostly non-luxury cars.