If you’ve ever found yourself buying someone a $10,000 handbag or worrying that not enough of your clothing is made from cashmere or silk, you’ll want to know that Cadillac will let you “subscribe” to its cars for a tidy monthly sum of $1,500.
“Book” by Cadillac is a $500 app that lets you select the most premium offerings from the brand and have it delivered to your door. However, you’re not leasing or purchasing a vehicle from General Motors’ flagship brand — you’re just borrowing one. Cadillac is touting this as some sort of transformative, fancy-free way to own a car. Still, it doesn’t actually alleviate most of the problems associated with car ownership, especially not in the urban markets it plans to test the service in.
I suppose this could be a way to live with various Cadillac models and discover which one speaks to you, but it’s still difficult to endorse “booking” a premium luxury vehicle over purchasing one. Depending on your insurance rate, the monthly expenses could almost match cost of purchasing a CTS-V. However, keep in mind that you don’t get to retain the vehicle. Leasing would typically be the cheaper option.
Car-sharing services certainly have their place, typically in dense urban areas where you don’t need routine access to a vehicle but might find yourself wanting a coupe for a weekend excursion or a van to pick up some furniture with. ZipCar — for example — allows you to select from its entire fleet, pick the car you want, and drop it off whenever you’re done with it. You don’t pay for gas, you don’t need to interact with another human being, and you don’t need to worry about where you’ll park it when you aren’t using it anymore.
Cadillac’s model is, by contrast, very limiting. Users have access to an app which allows them to request a swap between current-year Cadillacs, including the XT5, CT6, Escalade, ATS-V, and CTS-V. Provided that you request prior to 3 p.m., a well-dressed person will deliver the new car to your door in exchange for whatever you were previously driving. You can swap cars up to eighteen times in a year and don’t have to pay for insurance, registration, or maintenance. However, you are always in possession of a car until you cancel the monthly subscription.
So, again, why not just buy or lease it? Considering that the more expensive Cadillac can be gotten from a dealership for well under $800 a month, the best you could hope for from Book is to break even (after signing fees, a sizable insurance premium, and an unexpected servicing or two).
If you need a non-traditional vehicular solution, there are much cheaper options available. If you want variety of premium cars, Truo will let you rent your neighbor’s Maybach for a day and even Enterprise has its “Exotic Collection.” However, if you just want to tool around in a variety of top-trimmed American automobiles and don’t care about losing some money, maybe Cadillac’s Book is for you.
While General Motors anticipates bringing the service into other markets, it will first be made available in the New York Metropolitan area starting February 1.
[Image: General Motors]