Car subscriptions: they’re totally a thing! The latest automaker to test the waters on subscriptions is Nissan, which just launched a new, two-tier service in Houston, Texas. It’s called “Nissan Switch,” and it will feature a variety of models, including the all-electric Nissan Leaf Plus, the Titan pickup, and the GT-R sports car.
Nissan Switch has two tiers: the $699-a-month “Select” plan, which includes the Altima, Rogue, Pathfinder, and Frontier; and the $899-a-month “Premium” plan, which includes the Leaf Plus, Maxima, Murano, Armada, Titan, and 370Z coupe. The GT-R sports car is available to either Select or Premium customers, but includes an additional $100-a-day fee and can only be taken out for a maximum of seven days.
When signing up, customers will have to pay a $495 “membership activation fee” in addition to the first month’s subscription cost for whichever plan they chose. But for that they get unlimited vehicle switches, (as often as a new vehicle each day), as well as delivery, cleaning, insurance, roadside assistance, and regular maintenance.
Car companies have been experimenting with Netflix-style subscription services for over a year as they seek to appeal directly to millennial consumers who are less inclined than previous generations to own or lease their own vehicle. Those efforts have run into interference from dealers who see subscriptions as undercutting their business model.
Many more automakers beyond Nissan are trialing subscriptions, like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche, Audi, Volvo, Cadillac, and Jaguar. Even the big car rental companies, Hertz and Enterprise, are getting in on the action.