Mobiliti Lets Car Dealers Get in on the Subscription-Service Game

The service launches in Austin, Texas in May.

byStephen Edelstein|
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Subscription services are all the rage among automakers, with BMW and Lincoln announcing new or expanded services just in the last week. By allowing drivers to get a car by simply paying a monthly fee, these services offer a way around the hassles of buying or leasing through a dealer. But now car dealers have a subscription service of their own.

A Detroit-based company called Mobiliti is partnering with dealers to offer a subscription service with roughly the same format as the services offered by automakers. Customers pay a monthly fee starting at $549 that includes insurance, maintenance, warranty coverage, and roadside assistance. If a customer gets sick of their car after 30 days, they can trade it for another one.

Mobiliti plans to launch in Austin, Texas in May and expand to other parts of the United States after that. The company did not say which car brands its partner dealers will offer through the service. A Mobiliti press release said that "each vehicle will be uniquely priced based on make, model, and mileage options," but did not give a price range.

Customers will be able to select cars through an app, and will have the option to buy or lease after the initial 30-day subscription period. Cars for the service will be drawn from dealer inventory and dealers will put returned cars back on the lot to be sold to consumers or sent off to auction for sale to another dealer.

Subscription services make owning a car easier, which is an important consideration when city dwellers can get around using ride-hailing or car-sharing services. But much of the convenience of existing services like Book by Cadillac or Ford's Canvas comes from not having to interact with a dealer. Mobiliti shows that dealers won't go down without a fight.

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