Both BMW and Mercedes-Benz are planning to launch vehicle subscription pilots in the U.S. this year.
Following in the footsteps of other luxury automakers such as Cadillac, Lincoln, Porsche, and Volvo, Mercedes has confirmed it will offer a pilot in a U.S. market in 2018, helping it determine whether a subscription model can be beneficial long term. “We need to learn,” Mercedes-Benz global sales chief Britta Seeger told at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. “In different markets, we want to try this out.”
Rival BMW didn’t confirm it will launch a subscription pilot, but BMW of North America CEO Bernhard Kuhnt did say the company “most likely” will test a subscription model at some point this year. Like Mercedes, it would be in a single U.S. market.
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Subscription plans launched by other automakers allow customers to drive a vehicle for a monthly fee, which includes insurance, maintenance, pickup, and delivery. The services typically allow customers to switch out their vehicles based on needs.
Mercedes is curious about how it would address issues that may arise with subscription services, such as if a customer is unable to switch to a vehicle they want. “On the weekend, if it’s sunshine outside and if everybody wants to have a cabriolet, and if I apply five times to have a cabriolet and I don’t get it, what does this cause?” Seeger asked. The company however, has been running subscription pilots in other markets, testing the Smart brand in Italy and Mercedes in Germany.