For the past twenty years, I have been buying my personal automobiles one way and one way only. I would typically look for a used car that was two to three years old with a good chunk of depreciation worn off it and then buy the car for cash. I would typically drive the car for another 4 to 6 years and then rinse and repeat the process. In fact, as I gave advice to clients over the years I would continue to emphasize this philosophy as I have never been a big fan of buying new cars as an asset (unless you love cars) nor have I typically like leases with the exception of a few specific instances.
Recently, I embarked on a test and for the first time in my own financial life I neither own a car nor do I lease car. I actually RENT a car full time, and I’m beginning to think that this trend may sweep the nation from auto dealers and consumer alike in this new economy.
The program I joined up with is a beta test in Atlanta called Clutch Atlanta and here are the basics on how it works.
- You sign up for a monthly car subscription which is an alternative to owning or leasing. The subscription goes month to month and you can exit the program any month you like.
- The Trailblazer program is $750 a month, the Pioneer is $950 a month, and the Adventurer $1400 a month. Each of the plans gives you access to a fleet of cars including SUV’s, sedans, convertibles, trucks, and crossover cars.
- The beauty about this program is that you don’t need to carry auto insurance anymore and you don’t need to worry about maintenance of the car. You can simply flip your current car for another car every single time you want to flip.
- The Clutch Concierge will bring you new car to your home, place of work or a 3rd party location as long as it is within a certain distance away from the Clutch headquarters.
As of late, more and more automakers are joining the bandwagon of these rent-a-car type programs:
Porsche Passport provides white-glove vehicle delivery in metro Atlanta through two membership plans – “Launch” and “Accelerate.”
- “Launch”: Includes on-demand access to eight model variants such as the 718 Boxster and Cayman S, as well as the Macan S and Cayenne, for a monthly fee of $2,000.
- “Accelerate”: Includes on-demand access to 22 model variants such as the Porsche 911 Carrera S, the Panamera 4S sports sedan, the Macan GTS and Cayenne S E-Hybrid SUVs, in addition to the vehicles offered in the “Launch” package, for a monthly fee of $3,000.
Membership plans include vehicle tax and registration, insurance, and maintenance, as well as detailing, for the fixed monthly fee. To sign up, Atlantans can download the Porsche Passport app available on Apple and Android devices to apply for membership. Both plans require a one-time activation fee of $500, and membership approval is dependent on a background and credit check. Once approved, the vehicle will be delivered to the member’s requested location in metro Atlanta. Users can schedule same day or future vehicle exchanges through the Porsche Passport app.
Book By Cadillac has a program now for $1,500 a month and Volvo has a rent a car program as well. As you have seen over the past five years what Uber has done to the Taxi industry and AirBnb has done to the hotel industry, this may be an initial sign to a whole new way we interact with the auto industry. Now you can have the luxury of having the crossover car for the week, the convertible for Saturday, and the back up of an extended SUV when you need to haul the family for long trips.