The automotive subscription service looks like the wave of the future. As leasing replaced buying outright—for many drivers—in the 1990s, subscription service may replace leasing for many drivers over the course of the next decade. And, a subscription with a luxury car manufacturer like Volvo or Porsche allows drivers to conduct a kind of extended test-drive of several models, locking them into the brand and securing them as future customers.
With characteristic deliberation, Mercedes is joining the fray after a period of unhurried circumspection. The company is planning a flat-rate service called ‘Flexperience’ that will allow drivers lateral freedom of movement throughout the Mercedes classes…including S-Class.
Mercedes will probably set the cap at a dozen different models a year; that’s one a month, and right in line with the competition, with no more than one switch per month permitted, and priority granted those who provide ample advance notice. Subscribers may log 36K miles per year, more than enough to accommodate the business and recreational needs of nearly all drivers. As with the plans offered by other carmakers, the fees associated with the service include insurance and all operating costs, from oil changes to repairs.
Like other automakers’ plans, a simple smartphone app will allow subscribers to negotiate a series of available model, power plant, and cosmetic options.