Jeep planning to experiment with car subscriptions

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Depending on what and where you read, car subscriptions are either the next big thing or next to dead. Some commentators say they are too expensive while others say they will exceed car ownership over the next decade. Either way, Jeep is dipping its toe into car subscriptions.

I sit on the fence on this. I think there is definitely a future for a car subscription. The Care by Volvo subscription service in the US is so popular that there is a six month waiting list and stocks of the XC40 are running short across the country. Yet, it comes at a price. Subscriptions are more expensive than leasing but include insurance, maintenance and running costs except gas.

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Jeep are going to experiment with subscriptions on a small scale in the US. They are going to be working with Avis to run a three month subscription offering that lets you try any FCA vehicle including those from Dodge, Ram and Jeep themselves.

Alongside this, Jeep are experimenting with a peer to peer subscription service. This allows current Jeep owners to sublet their vehicles to other people. Called Turo, it’s a pilot that has been running for a couple of years and apparently has over 350,000 subscribers.

The initial test subscription service will run in Boston and will be limited to 100 people. Presumable once it has proven successful the books will be opened further and then expanded to other cities and hopefully, here in Canada.

Car subscription services could have two benefits to Jeep. They are an excellent way to make more money from rentals. They are also a great way to allow people to try a Jeep before they buy. A month or three month subscription is the ideal way to see if your lifestyle would suit a Jeep before buying a new one. It takes a lot of the fear out of buying one and can help convince sceptics just how good they are without having to risk big money.

Jeep has not said which models it will be making available during the pilot or what other FCA models will be included in the mix. Neither has it yet said how much the subscription would be.

I hope it works. I hope Jeep makes a real success out of the project and run out of Wrangler or Grand Cherokee the way Volvo ran out of XC40s. I think the brand deserves even more success but I also think people deserve to see first hand just how far Jeep has come over the past decade.

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