Then leasing started to catch on, kind of like a long-term hire, sometimes with the option to buy the vehicle at the end of a set contract. Pay-as-you-go car sharing schemes too, such as Zipcar, have become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly in cities.
But in these days of Netflix, Spotify, Harry’s razors and weekly vegetable box delivery services, there’s a new model starting to emerge in the automotive industry. We’re now in the age of subscription.
Much like Netflix revolutionised the way we watch TV, car subscription services could have a similar effect on the way we drive and get hold of a car. There are dozens of different schemes being set up, both by car manufacturers and by third party firms.
As everyone is different, and has different requirements from a car, the subscription model won’t be for everyone. But the idea of short-term, flexible “ownership” appeals to plenty, and some industry analysts predict subscription schemes could account for 10% of new vehicle sales in the US and Europe by 2025.
You can read more about the development of car subscription services in the Auto Trader Market Report, which is available here.