For a while, it seemed as if the future of owning an automobile would be a subscription where you paid an ongoing monthly fee and had access to multiple car models from a single brand. Subscription programs were available from BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and others for a while. BMW recently announced that it was canceling its subscription service that began in 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee.
The subscription service cost more than $2000 per month and allowed subscribers to access different BMW vehicle models depending on their needs or wants at the time. We have to think the high price was part of the reason the service didn’t work. As for why it’s ending the subscription service, BMW has said that the program reached its capacity limits.
The service, called Access by BMW, never shared subscriber numbers, so it’s unclear how many people subscribed. BMW also says that Access by BMW was never intended to be more than a pilot. There were two tiers to the service, with entry-level users paying $2000 per month to use the X5 SUV and 4 or 5-series sedans.
Those wanting access to the exciting BMW vehicles had to pay $3700 per month. Those subscribers had access to the M4, M5, M6, and X5M. While many automakers are canceling their car subscription programs, Porsche is doing very well with its subscription service. Porsche caters to a more enthusiastic crowd than some luxury brands, which could add to its success.
Mainstream automakers, including Ford, also tried a subscription service, but Ford sold its service in 2019. Audi announced earlier this month that it was also ending its subscription service by the end of January. Audi has promised to create a new innovative experience for customers based on insights gained from its subscription service.