In a unique twist, Jeep will launch a new subscription service in 2019 where owners can subscribe to Jeeps or borrow vehicles on a short-term basis, says Consumer Reports. Like other car subscription programs, consumers will subscribe for a monthly fee, which usually includes insurance, maintenance and related expenses.
As part of its Jeep Wave program, the car subscription service will feature a few differences from similar vehicle programs like Book by Cadillac, Care by Volvo and Ford Canvas. For example, vehicles will be available in three tiers – Good, Better and Best. Each of those tiers comes with different options, such as vehicles available, types of insurance coverage and add-on services like a 24-hour concierge.
Another key difference is the Jeep Wave borrowing, or car-share, program which will encourage consumers to try other vehicles in the Fiat Chrysler Automobile (FCA) family: Dodge, Fiat, Chrysler, Alfa Romeo and Maserati. The car-share program will allow owners of certain Jeep SUVs to borrow other FCA vehicles on a short-term basis by using ‘Jeep Coins’ they buy or earn by purchasing a qualifying vehicle. Jeep owners can also buy more coins to continue to participate in the car-share program.
According to CNET, the Jeep Wave loyalty program will roll out in North America in 2019, with the subscription portion of the program to launch later in the year. It is not yet known what vehicles will be available via subscription, what the cost for the Good, Better and Best tiers will be, or what is included in the monthly subscription fee. The loyalty program will also include a social component including connecting Jeep owners to each other, scheduled trail meets and other rewards.
FCA made the announcement last week an investor conference in Italy, reports The Car Connection. The initial launch would occur in the Northeast and would target owners of Jeep Wrangler and other Hawk versions of Jeep’s crossover SUVs.
Compared to other automobile manufacturers, FCA and Jeep are a little late to the game, but the subscription market for vehicles is still in the early stages. Though many automakers like BMW, Lexus, Volvo, Porsche and Subaru are already offering vehicle subscriptions, they are not widely available or thoroughly tested.
The bottom line is that automakers are trying to attract and retain consumers in an age where people are less likely to commit to a purchase on a long-term basis. Subscriptions give consumers what they want – control and flexibility – while auto manufacturers can retain their livelihood. Auto dealers are the ones being left out of the mix.
How we shop is changing and our desire to commit to anything long-term is impacting the car market. Car manufacturers are scrambling to come up with the perfect plan to appeal to customers, but it doesn’t seem that they’ve found it yet. Wide spread usage is still limited and no standard subscription models for cars has yet emerged. As the auto subscription market matures, we expect more players to join in and for some consistency among programs to emerge. Jeep is smart to wait so it can create a truly unique subscription program that speaks to its target market and that sets it apart from earlier entrants.