Cleveland, Ohio – Mercedes-Benz is following General Motors’ lead, offering a vehicle subscription service is a few cities to test the market on how it will provide vehicles to customers in the future.
Like GM’s Cadillac Book service, the Mercedes-Benz Collection allows drivers to pay a steep monthly fee for the right to drive a variety of luxury vehicles. The service covers car maintenance, insurance, and even delivers the vehicles fully fueled. And when a driver gets tired of driving a sedan, he can swap one out for an SUV or something else.
Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) President and CEO Dietmar Exler says, “We know there is a market opportunity for people who would like the ability to move in and out of vehicles, depending on what they need or want at a particular point in time, or who don’t want to own a vehicle right now.”
Notice he didn’t talk about saving money.
Unlike Book’s flat $1,500 monthly fee for any available Cadillac (in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas), the Mercedes-Benz Collection fee varies on vehicle type and location. The service is launching in Nashville, Tennessee; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with a three-tiered pricing structure.
- Signature (Nashville) – $1,095 per month. C-Class sedans or GLC sport utility vehicles (SUVs)
- Reserve (Nashville or Philadelphia) – $1,595 per month. E-Series sedans, GLE (or AMG GLC) SUVs
- Premier (Philadelphia) – $2,995 per month. AMG or S-Series sedans, AMG or G-wagon SUVs
Several automakers are experimenting with subscription services, though none have rolled them out to more than a handful of cities. So far, most have been limited to luxury cars – Care by Volvo, Porsche Passport – but at least one mass-market trial is taking place in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Ford’s Canvas service has a sliding pricing scale depending on the car, miles driven, and the length of the subscription (for insurance purposes – the more months rented, the lower the monthly cost). So, a one-month subscription for a Ford Fusion SE with unlimited miles would cost $869. Subscribe to the car for a year and limit miles to 1,250 per month, and the monthly cost falls to $509.
Canvas does offer Lincoln vehicles as well. The most expensive subscription – one month in a Navigator SUV with unlimited miles – would cost $1,865.
About the author: Robert Schoenberger is the editor of Today's Motor Vehicles and a contributor to Today's Medical Developments and Aerospace Manufacturing and Design. He has written about the automotive industry for more than 18 years at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio; The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky; and The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.