By on June 21, 2016

netjet

Now it can be told: About ten years ago, my pal Rodney was an employee at NetJets, a Berkshire Hathaway Company(™). Not for long, however. He was fired for making a very specific suggestion to his female boss. TTAC is a family-friendly site, so the best way I can rephrase what he said would be this: “If you (meaning the boss) were to let me (meaning Rodney) aggressively sodomize you in the company bathroom, not only would you experience a form of pleasure with which you are currently not acquainted, it would also result in a significant change in your management style, for the better, particularly as it relates to me, as you would then experience submissive feelings whenever you spoke to me.”

I should point out that Rodney was speaking from honest experience here, having convinced at least two other women in the corporation to participate in similar activities.

“This time, however, I was the one who got f***ed,” Rodney mournfully confessed to me a few days later. “The worst part is that this put a real crimp in my plans for Obsidian Black.”

“Obsidian Black?” I replied, like I’d been the recent recipient of a traumatic brain injury.

“Obsidian Black,” Rodney clarified.


Once he explained it to me, Rodney’s plan made a sort of bizarre sense. You’re probably familiar with the NetJets business model, in which hoity-toity corporate types pay a minimum of three-quarters-of-a-million dollars per year to have a share of a private jet. They don’t actually have a piece of a particular jet. Instead, they have the right to call on NetJets for flights that total up to that “share”. If you have a one-quarter share, then you can have a jet one-quarter of the time. You get the idea.

That’s too pricey for a lot of people, even a lot of wealthy people, so NetJets has the subsidiary MarquisJet card product. You give them $150,000 or thereabouts and you can use 25 hours on a plane in the NetJets fleet.

Rodney’s idea, “Obsidian Black”, worked like so: He’d buy a MarquisJet card and split it up further. Down to the individual hour. Then he’d sell those hours to wealthy African-Americans who wanted to try a private jet for a flight to Vegas or something like that. Strictly speaking, the MarquisJet card prohibits exactly that, but Rodney figured that if NetJets called him on it he’d claim that he was being racially discriminated against and the drama would be squashed in a hurry.

“The primary issue,” he explain, “is finding people in my, ahem, community who have ten grand to spend on a one-hour private jet flight.”

“That’s one good candidate, out of several, for ‘the primary issue’,” was my response. “But yeah, that sounds tough.” To me, the ‘primary issue’ was finding somebody to front him the $150k, but as the B&B continually remind me, I’m no businessman. And the truth is that Rodney was ahead of his time. In 2016, there are all sorts of alternative ways to get people into a business jet on a single-use basis.

I’m not exactly sure what fractional-jet owners do with their shares. The only NetJets “owners” I personally know are two different first-generation-money Ohio families who use their shares for exactly the same thing: flying to Naples and Las Vegas on short notice. I mean the Naples in Florida, of course. I said “Ohio people”. I assume that other people have legitimate business purposes for their NetJets shares. I’m also reasonably sure that most people over-estimate how often they’ll actually use the jet, and that’s how NetJets became insanely profitable.

There’s a lot to be said for using a business jet instead of flying first class. You get to show up at the airport ten minutes ahead of time instead of two hours. You have the ability to fly directly to regional airports. If I had a ton of money, I’d have whatever kind of plane I needed to fly directly from Don Scott field in Columbus, Ohio, to the Monterey airport. It would save me between three and five hours of my life each way from the current way I get to Laguna Seca. What I’d like to suggest to you, however, is that a major part of the fractional-share purchase decision is predicated on the idea that you’ll be able to use the share for things that you can’t do with first-class ticket on a major airline.

Part of the appeal of a private jet is that you can leave somewhere way after midnight and get to where you’re going by morning. Or that you can change your roster of traveling companions at the last minute. Or that you can fly with things that are difficult or risky to get on a commercial flight, whether we’re talking about a triple-bagged kilo of Bolivian marching powder or a real ’59 Les Paul. Ninety-five percent of the time, however, I bet you that the fractional-share guys end up doing something that they could easily do with a commercial flight.

You want to fly from LAX to LGA or vice versa? You can do that pretty much all the time, on short notice, with plenty of luxury and special consideration available. It might be nice to imagine that you’re going to smuggle a thousand Krugerrands from the Cayman Islands to Jackson Hole, but when it comes time to actually do that shit you’re gonna change your mind, because the kind of people who earn and keep fortunes in the modern era tend to be hugely averse to actual, physical risk.

Does this contrast between the adventurousness of the original purchase decision and the prosaic nature of actual use sound familiar to you? Of course it does. Every day in this country, millions of people commute by themselves in a 4,500-pound, 18-mile-per-gallon cage that they bought because it met their perceived future needs. These are the people who reacted to the news of my purchasing a two-door Honda Accord like I’d just had unprotected sex with Courtney Love.

“But… but… but…” they’d stutter, “…what if you have to put people back there?”

“It’s okay,” I’d say. “There are real seats back there. I checked.”

“But… what if you need to bring something back from the hardware store?”

“What if I do?”

“You should have gotten a Pilot.”

“You mean, I should have paid ten grand extra and gotten two-thirds of the fuel economy for the five times a year I visit Lowe’s?”

“Well… yes!

“Lowe’s,” I’d respond, “rents trucks.”

“But what if… the truck has already been rented?” This last, delivered in a tone that suggests such a tragedy is not just possible, but inevitable.

“Then I’d go back another day?” There’s no reasoning with those people. They demand automotive self-sufficiency. Never mind that we all live in a society where a 45-minute power outage causes a riot and even a five-day nationwide trucking strike would have some of us organizing into armed gangs and storming the local grocery store with Bushmaster AR-15s. We easily accept the idea of living somewhere without so much as a square meter of arable land or a single seed to plant in it, but the minute you bring up the idea of owning a vehicle that cannot meet all conceivable future needs people treat you like you’ve been BASE-jumping naked off the Freedom Tower.

Sane human beings meet these needs by renting appropriate vehicles when the time arrives, but I’ve noticed that most people have an utter horror of renting vehicles. This is probably because they don’t have any control of the situation. When you’re a renter, the rental company can just tell you that they don’t have any vans for that weekend. They don’t care that Jaden, Brayden, and Caiden are all starting at State U. And there’s no appeal to a higher authority. You’re just stuck.

I think there’s some money to be made in appealing to that kind of paranoia. My idea is this: fractional SUV ownership. I buy a whole bunch of Suburbans and sell shares in them. You can get a one-quarter share in a Suburban LS for, oh, I don’t know, five hundred bucks a month. Then you go online with my system and lay out when you’ll need a Suburban. I’ll guarantee availability of “your” truck. If you need one in a hurry? Chances are that I’ll be able to hook you up. After all, you’re a valued owner.

The most popular product will be the one-sixteenth share of a Suburban, which will be just $199 a month. That one weekend a month that you want to go to Lowe’s? I got you covered. What about your family vacation where you want to put the kids in a Suburban and drive Route 66 for a week? It’s a done deal.

Everybody is a winner. Obviously, I’m a winner, because I’m going to buy Subs at $1,000/month and effectively lease them for $2,500 a month. Then I’m gonna sell them for $20,000 when they are five years old and pocket every dime of that money. But my clients are winners, too. They’ll be free to buy the car that makes actual sense for their daily commute. Like a Civic, or a Veloster, or a Huracan for all I care. Let’s say that gas goes back up to five bucks a gallon. Commuting forty miles a day in a Civic instead of a Pilot? That’s a hundred bucks a month you’ll save right there, on fuel. Then think of the savings from buying a $20,000 car instead of a $40,000 one. Hell, some of you balls-out adrenaline freaks can do what I do, and commute every day via a Honda CB1100 that gets 44 miles per gallon even though you hit 100 mph at least once in the morning and twice in the afternoon. You could get one of those CR-Zs, if you need a roof.

And when your neighbor says something cutting about how you’re driving all alone to work every day in a 2,800-pound vehicle instead of a 5,600-pound one, you can say, “Well, of course I’m fractional with NetSuburbans. I wouldn’t bother to use anything smaller than a nine-passenger vehicle with a 1,900-pound load capacity on the weekends, just to save money.” And when you deliver that last line, squint really hard at their Terrain or Santa Fe or whatever.

Fractional SUV ownership. It’s an idea whose time has come. I just need to get Warren Buffet involved. Alternately, I could forget the whole thing and just fund whatever business idea Rodney has in mind. I still remember the last time I asked him for a business idea. He looked at me for a long time. Then he said to me, “Okay, pay attention. It starts when we find a few young mothers… with nothing to lose.”

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138 Comments on “Fractional SUV Ownership: It’s An Idea Whose Time Has Finally Come...”


  • avatar

    In my day, we rented cars when we wanted to use them without buying them.

  • avatar

    “And when your neighbor says something cutting about how you’re driving all alone to work every day in a 2,800-pound vehicle instead of a 5,600-pound one, you can say…”

    I can tell him to MIND HIS OWN BUSINESS or something much much worse like: S.T.F.U.

    When did people get the idea that they had the power to tell other people what they “should” or “shouldn’t” own based on their own inadequate finances?

    • 0 avatar
      FerrariLaFerrariFace

      Right around the time the Prius was introduced.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah well – TO HELL WITH THAT.

        My neighbors can’t possibly keep up with the Jones’ (ME) simply because I don’t have kids to eat up my money and I have pockets with a hole in them and a sick fetish for ridiculous engines.

        And keep in mind, this is NYC.

        So many people illegally subletting – 3 families in a 2 family house (sometimes more than that).

        They see me going in and out of my house getting jealous like:

        “you aren’t renting out rooms to anyone?”

        I’m like: “HELL NO – I don’t want anyone else up in here but me”

        Driving their silly little Accords. Dude across the street trying to keep up with old used German cars LOL.

        Got the Hellcat and hurt their feelings.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          BTSR, I think the line you’re looking for comes from another African-American hero of Queens and/or Far Rockaway:

          “See (African-Americans) get tight when you worth some millions
          That’s why I sport the chinchilla
          Hurt they feelins’.”

          • 0 avatar

            Rolling past base models reaaaaaaaaaal slooooooow.

          • 0 avatar

            Far Rockaway is part of Queens, FYI.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            Thus the and/or… in my experience some people from Far Rockaway aren’t eager to claim Queens.

          • 0 avatar

            I think you have it the other way around. Far Rockaway is a slum that no one wants to claim. Those who have to live there probably don’t care much one way or the other.

            If you’re talking about Rockaway Beach to its west, you are absolutely correct. It has become a hipster summer retreat, kind of like Williamsburg-At-The-Beach. I am sure its denizens would rather be part of Brooklyn.

            But whatever, it’s a nice place to hang out. Thankfully, I’ve never seen Lena Dunham there.

        • 0 avatar

          “Driving their silly little Accords. Dude across the street trying to keep up with old used German cars LOL.

          Got the Hellcat and hurt their feelings.”

          $61,390 (according to Google) for a vehicle you’ll never stretch to its limits in NYC.

          My last car I purchased as a commuter was a late model Mazda3. I bought it used for $10,600. I’m still driving it. I love that little car.

          $61,390-$10,600 = $50,790.

          I can routinely stretch the little Mazda to its limits, especially on the way to and back from where my aging parents live, in NC. It’s a hoot. Hellcat hoot? No, of course not. And the Hellcat is a looker. But…

          $50,790 placed into a mutual fund with a typical return = $162,890 after twenty years.

          Priorities, man. If you want a toy, that’s your business. But pretending you understand the motives of your neighbors and deriding their vehicular choices isn’t far from what you decried–some imaginary scenario where you were told by your neighbors what you should drive.

          • 0 avatar

            Priorities?

            My retirement is already set- my stock portfolio grows with each Youtube check- and I have taken into account inflation protection.

            I also have two parents who I’ll inheret from so I don’t have a single worry right now.

          • 0 avatar

            Like I said, if you want a toy, that’s your business. But some people aren’t set yet, and they’re trying to get there.

            I’m on track to retire at 55 even if nothing else changes (and I’m pretty sure things will get even better, based on some projects I’m working on). What I’m saying is you don’t know what your neighbors are trying to do, or even having to endure–for all you know, there could be cancer or something ravaging a family–and I think deriding them on the basis of their vehicle selection is unfair.

          • 0 avatar

            Most people who think they will retire at 55 will quickly realize they need a “job” to make extra income.

            That $21,000,000,000,000 debt is going to come back at us in cost-of-living inflation.

            I’m thinking of retiring outside of America. Possibly Canada or Seychelles.

            Someplace quiet with a low-cost-of-living.

            I am going to retire before 50 years old.

            House is already paid off and when my parents die, I ‘ll rent out their houses (or sell them) and just put that extra money into high-interest-savings.

            But I will NEVER buy a soul-less Japanese econobox. I’d rather die.

            I mean it.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            “I‘ll just put that money into high-interest-savings.”

            Have ye checked interest rates over oh… last 10 years?

          • 0 avatar

            COREYDL

            The Federal Reserve can’t allow interest rates to rise because the government would go into recession and the Liberals would be EXPOSED. They’ll let rates float when Donald Trump wins so they can BLAME THE PATHETIC ECONOMY ON HIM.

            People who have cash in the banks will end up winning since they’ll have and the spenders deep in debt won’t.

            Furthermore, Banking OUTSIDE of America gets you more interest right now.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I fully agree that the interest rates have been held to an artificially low level for quite some time now. The recovery of our economy has been minimal since the recession, at best.

            So when Hilary wins (because let’s face it, she will), they’ll just continue holding the interest rates down forever? How’s that going to work?

            I also agree we’re in for a world of hurt when the rates shoot back up. All that restricted money and people stretched much too far on their credit, because they don’t know how to save.

            Probably a good time to invest in some apartment buildings for areas with housing demand.

          • 0 avatar
            mason

            It sounds like we have our very own American version of Fuerdai here.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            MazdaThreeve,
            Retire at 55? I’d bet my balls you keep on working, not for the money.

            I was set to retire at 55, but I decided to keep on working. What’s odd is going to work because you want to, not because you have to.

            When I’m jack of working, I just catch a plane somewhere and have fun. Plus, my job offers me travel as well, or I just see how great my off roading skills are (sometimes not so great).

            There’s nothing wrong with wanting to rock up to work, even if you don’t need to. My guys love me now, because that pressure to appease my superior is gone. Been that way for a few years now.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            CoreyDL,
            There’s not much more the Fed even in Australia or any country can do in changing the low interest rate environment. The Feds can only do so much when governments are not pulling their weight.

            I wouldn’t rely on savings to keep yourself afloat in retirement or to build wealth.

            Here’s what causing low interest rates. GDP has been outstripping income, by a significant margin, hence wage/salary growth has been soft.

            If GDP is rising and income not, indicates that it’s costing more to make more. Which means there is less will to invest. To entice investment interest rates are low.

            So, rates must be low in an attempt to keep the show on the road.

          • 0 avatar

            “There’s nothing wrong with wanting to rock up to work, even if you don’t need to. My guys love me now, because that pressure to appease my superior is gone. Been that way for a few years now.”

            Working because you enjoy it? Nothing wrong with that at all.

            I should clarify: I will no longer be in corporate America (at least, I doubt it), but I will be doing what I love, full-time.

            I don’t intend to sit on a couch after I retire.

          • 0 avatar
            Piston Slap Yo Mama

            The irony! BTSR argues that his stock portfolio is making him rich while simultaneously claiming the current POTUS is ruining the economy.
            Economics? It’s Tricky.

          • 0 avatar
            zamoti

            Sooooo, make America great again [by investing outside of it and retiring in Canada]

            Neato!

          • 0 avatar
            Detroit-Iron

            @BTSR

            Not trying to hate, I actually agree with most of your posts, if not the CAPS LOCK, but in a strictly Darwinian sense if you don’t have kids your time here on earth was a failure.

  • avatar
    Troggie42

    Honestly that idea is just crazy enough to work if you could get the infrastructure down. Start in a few big places, slowly branch out from there as the idea takes off… Yeah, it could work! Do it like Uber but without all the taxi baggage.

    I’m slightly guilty of the whole “preparedness” thing myself, except that instead of a gas guzzling SUV, I got a gas guzzling turbocharged RWD Volvo Wagon. At least people can see around me.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Love the Rodney stories, keep them coming.

    As for fractional SUV ownership, seems like a good idea for those rare times that the utility part of an SUV is actually needed. I just hope that if it were to exist it wouldn’t turn out like Ford’s fractional lease concept.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    First,

    “It might be nice to imagine that you’re going to smuggle a thousand Krugerrands from the Cayman Islands to Jackson Hole”

    That’s all you can do: imagine. Flying a private aircraft across borders does not, magically, free you from customs. In fact, you tend to get a *lot* more scrutiny. Worse, there are only so many airports with customs and immigration and, during peak times, you get to wait your turn in the Florida sun (perhaps, the single most popular entry point for GA aircraft, KFPR in Fort Pierce where I did some training) while the ten other planes ahead of you are dealt with.

    Second, the NetJets model includes a professional team to manage and fly the aircraft. It’s very, very different from handing someone the keys to an SUV.

    Finally, my son is employed by a contracting firm writing code for a new dispatch and scheduling system for NetJets. Ironically, he gets closer to the business jets than his pilot father is ever likely to be.

    • 0 avatar

      I DON’T LIKE SHARING.

      I especially don’t want to “share” expensive vehicles.

      And I damn sure don’t want to “share” a jet or helicopter.

      My flying club allows you to rent airplanes for $200 – $1000 an hour depending on the model.

      I prefer to know everything about my vehicle and maintain it myself so that I’m 100% responsible for it.

      I don’t like the idea of “sharing”.

      • 0 avatar
        whynot

        Nobody likes sharing. But sharing is the only way anyone poorer than a billionaire can afford a private jet.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        200-1000 an hour if you’re the one flying it. When I flew a Citation 550( eight seat business jet, small) for charter, the cheapest it rented was 2500 per hour, minimum of 2 hours. Our better Citations were $3000. Our Gulfstreams were around 7500 an hour. Last time I rented a Cessna 172 (four place single engine) it was $150 an hour.

        Lots of very wealthy people have no problem “sharing” a multi-million dollar aircraft. NetJets runs like an airline without a schedule. Some of our wealthiest clients could have bought an airplane. but they weren’t pilots and/or didn’t want the hassle.

      • 0 avatar

        You don’t like sharing? Where is the news in that?

        Everyone knows you’re an unrepentant selfish pig. I expect you to take that as a compliment.

        • 0 avatar

          Pigs eat what others give them.

          I EARN MINE and I COMPLETELY REJECT YOUR COMMUNIST AND SOCIALIST IDEALOGIES.

          IT DOESN’T TAKE A VILLAGE (hillary clinton)

          IT TAKES INDIVIDUAL PEOPLE WORKING AND DOING THEIR JOBS.

          It’s an “insult” – not a “compliment”

          But since your a liberal I can dismiss it as if you never existed.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        What ratings do you have? Just asking…

        • 0 avatar

          “Except all societal advances were created by social change, not by individuals. The Whiggish interpretation of history that focuses on ‘the great men’ theory has long been dismissed as bogus.”

          The truth is that both great individuals and societal movements drive history. It doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition.

          • 0 avatar
            SSJeep

            Agreed. Penicillin was not created by “social change”. Most beneficial societal advances have been caused by one individual or a group of enlightened individuals working toward a general goal that society later accepts at their discretion.

            EVs are much in the same vain nowadays. I am reasonably sure that most commuter cars will be EVs in the next 7-10 years.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Except these inventions would not have occurred without the societal infrastructure to support them. And quite often there were multiple people working independent of each other towards these inventions. Electric lighting, the telephone, television, heavier than air flight and the automobile. Each had an inventor yet there were others just that close to the same invention at the same time.

          • 0 avatar

            You are welcome to your opinion, sir. But the troop always has an alpha, even if they all go to sleep in the same tree.

    • 0 avatar
      Hogie roll

      TF they gonna do? Pull you over?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I think its a winner.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    “If you (meaning the boss) were to let me (meaning Rodney) aggressively sodomize you in the company bathroom, not only would you experience a form of pleasure with which you are currently not acquainted, it would also result in a significant change in your management style, for the better, particularly as it relates to me, as you would then experience submissive feelings whenever you spoke to me.”

    Gee, I can’t understand why that wouldn’t be well received.

    • 0 avatar
      everybodyhatesscott

      Gee, I can’t understand why that wouldn’t be well received.

      Whenever I see (or hear about) some guy doing some ridiculous thing with women and wonder “Who the heck would ever do that?” Then I realize “That’s probably worked for him before” Then I drink.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    When did 18MPG become bad MPG? That pilot is going to get what 19MPG? So you could have the real thing and not be seen in Pilot, or you could worry about what a few ignorant people think about your ride.

    A Suburban/pickup meets everyone’s needs the first time, who cares if it’s never used to tow/haul, it outperforms a Camry/Civic in passenger duty, more comfortable, safer, better visibility, much more interesting to drive.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      18MPG would be remarkable for a Suburban.

      My wife’s GMT900 Tahoe Z51 gets 15.6 on the freeway and less than that in short drives.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I’ve been getting 20.1 on my new 4Runner, but it’s also a 4×2, and I drive it with the pedal to the floor half the time.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Wait, wait, wait, wait…

          http://tinyurl.com/n3hl52t

          A guy who worships at the altar of Hummer, who regularly complains that Suburbans have gone soft, bought a TWO WHEEL DRIVE 4Runner!

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Hear me out, I have 6 Hummers, a Scout, a 4×4 Suburban and a 4×4 work truck outside my house, I have 4×4 for days. Did I want the 4×4 4Runner? Absolutely, but I was also just trying to buy a cheap get around vehicle it keep some miles off the Hummers.

            Sorry to let you down guys, I’ve been careful to not give it away, but now seemed like a good time.

            Despite the plastic bumpers it has steel underbody protection, no low hanging air damn, and a decent traction control system for the rear axle, it’s still a SUV, you still ain’t about to see me buy a crossover.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I feel a bit shaky – I may need a 1/2 PTO day.

            :D

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Hummer, the 4×4 BOF aficionado and offroad enthusiast, bought a 2WD 4Runner?!?!

          What is the world coming to? That’s just wrong man. 4Runner, it’s right in the name for chrissakes!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I’m relatively speechless at this 4×2 revelation.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m inclined to agree, although in the South two wheel drive is common. Personally though I feel like its a cop out on an “SUV”.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            A 2wd SUV/CUV is just a station wagon in hooker heels. If you are going to bother to buy extra ground clearance at least have the good sense to have all 4 wheels driven at some point.

          • 0 avatar

            There comes a time in every man’s life when he has to seriously consider the practical.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @BklynPete, if people were practical minivan sales would be through the roof and I’d be able to buy a brand new Holden Commodore wagon badged as a Caprice Estate from any Chevy Dealer in America.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Now, to be fair, most (90% or more) of typical offroad use relies on good clearance/angles and some durable suspension and tires to get there most of the way, especially in places like the dry Southwest. Toyota sells “Prerunners” for this very purpose, with a locker in the rear end when you need an extra bit of help. Good articulation helps a lot as well, and the 4Runner certainly flexes pretty well for a stock vehicle. The common school of thought is that you don’t engage 4wd until you can’t get any farther in 2wd (certain situations excluded like mud holes where stopping is a bad idea).

            Having said all that, for those 5-10% of the time, you just NEED 4wd, and that’s often enough for me to consider it unthinkable to buy a SUV without 4wd.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            A 2WD truck is far more practical.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            gtemnykh,
            I do think you are overstating Hummer and his activities off roading.

            Does he actually off road, is the big question.

            After reading his comments on TTAC it makes me wonder. There are a few who claim to off road and I cringe at some of there comments, as just bullsh!t, call me skeptical.

            There’s a lot of comments here that sound a bit fishy. It appears the net is full of them.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            ” but I was also just trying to buy a cheap get around vehicle it keep some miles off the Hummers.”

            OK, I get keeping the miles off an expensive 4WD PU/SUV. But why not just buy a car? I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a 2WD 4Runner in MN. In fact until today I wasn’t sure they even made such a thing.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Can’t stand the way cars drive, the heavily raked windshields, and the cheap throwaway nature of the construction. I have a hard time letting my money go to a product that I can’t see quality in. Unibody is a big part of that, not as big as it is in CUVs, but it is a personal issue. Also being 6’2″ I dislike the pain on my knees, if I’m going to the gym fine, but not at 5:30 in the morning or 12 at night.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I averaged 19.6 in a 2016 Escalade ESV with cylinder deactivation on mixed driving.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        “My wife’s GMT900 Tahoe Z51 gets 15.6 on the freeway and less than that in short drives.”

        You need to figure out what’s wrong with it or she needs to learn how to drive it. Only way I could get 15.6 out of my 07′ Tahoe on the freeway is if I ran it in 2nd. After 130K miles the lifetime average is at 16.5 MPG which means a real 16 MPG. My ex commuted in it for the first 6 years so there’s a lot of “0” MPG run time on it while it sat in Minneapolis rush hour traffic.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Carlson Fan,
          I drove a 15 Ram 1500 with a 5.7 Hemi and it averaged 14mpg and that was only keeping the traffic and highway driving.

          My friend states he only getting 13mpg out of his Sierra.

          I do love those FE numbers that are “almost” realistic, but not quite right.

          If you are getting those FE numbers make sure you don’t hold me up when you are driving like you pulled to many cones.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Carlson Fan,
          The ribbing I gave you was a tongue in cheek comment. I should of added that in my comment above.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          Was it a Z51?

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            Er, make that Z71.

            The Tahoe is a Z71.

            Corvettes are Z51s.

            I have a lot more experience with Corvettes than I do Tahoes.

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          “Er, make that Z71.”

          Was wondering about that. LTZ with the 3:73 rear end, 4sp.. Make sure she’s not driving around in”auto”. Mine was delivered like that (no idea why) so I didn’t think twice about it because I wasn’t familiar with the system. The mileage was $hit and I was ready to bring it back to the dealership but opened the manual & realized I was driving around with the front axle locked in (duh). Huge MPG difference when it was switched to “2WD”.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I know it’s not exactly the same, but doesn’t ZipCar, Enterprise car share, city car share, etc meet the same intent?

    • 0 avatar

      Yes. I live in NYC and have Zipcar and Enterprise Car Share memberships. You can get minivans pretty easily.

      What I don’t know is how easy are those to come by in suburban environments, outside of college campuses? They are usually fairly far from big box retail, and aren’t financially worthwhile if used for more than 4-5 hours.

      • 0 avatar
        pragmatist

        In the suburbs, you’re not paying for parking at home and rarely anywhere else. That eliminates a major value component of zipcars.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          For long trips we rent.
          For short hops to places like Ikea and Lowes, we use Zipcar.

          Sometimes we take a Zipcar out just to try something different (A3, Mini, BMW 3 series, convertible, etc).

  • avatar

    In one of my past jobs I worked for a place that was (at the time) a Ford subsidiary. One of the bigwigs, who was pretty high in Ford, had spent a lot of time in Brazil, and was familiar with the ownership model there of multiple people buying into a car for shared use. The impression I got from him was that this was somewhat unnerving.

    I’d imagine the Big Three, especially, would fight this in the states, and they’d probably have the help of quite a few dealer lobbyists. Why on Earth would they want to sell more compact cars and less of these land barges that have these massive profit margins?

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    Not a bad idea, in all honesty, but it has to start at scale or it’ll burn money like there’s no tomorrow. The real trick to making it work is to position it not as a NetJets type thing, but to claim it’s an *app*, and that the vehicles’ availability is just kind of a happenstance side-effect of the appiness. It’s an Uber you drive yourself! Millenials will… do something en masse, like marketers say they always do!

    Anyway, it could work if you do it right.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Rodney sounds familiar. Is he the same one whose grandmother got fleeced on the Buick Encore?

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    The anti-CUV jihad continues, missing its target all the same.

    For example, would this service have someone drop off and pick up the Suburbans? That’s kind of crap for the consumer, and now you need a secondary fleet of cars and employees to move the cars around. If I have to pick the car up you have just described Zipcar.

    Not to mention, a Pilot purchase is no more or less based on “needs” than your Accord. Did you “need” the V6? Hell, did you “need” the Accord period? A Civic could do. Hell I bet you could fit a booster seat in the CR-Z. Fact of the matter is some people just prefer to commute in big unwieldy CUVs/SUVs and trucks for that matter. Freedom of choice is essential to the American experience, even if the choices people make (like owning multiple Porsches) are not entirely rational.

    I’m looking forward to having a CUV in the house when the kids come… loading infants into a little hatchback sucks. But I’m keeping the Ninja and the Civic….

    Hell, thinking about it, if anything there should be fractional sports car ownership (which there pretty much already is through companies like Xtreme Xperience and Manhattan Car Club).

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      I suppose Jack’s Burbs could have a fleet of Vespas or similar compact scooter for the employee to drive back to HQ.

      Or this Honda: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_Motocompo

    • 0 avatar
      yamahog

      But there’s value in the ‘middle way’.

      The V6 Accord gets milage that’s comparable to 4 cylinder CUVs and can accelerate almost twice as fast as the CUVs that get slightly better milage.

      All things considered, V6 Accord coupes with the 6MT have a relatively low cost of ownership – they have favorable residual values and are pretty trouble free.

      It’s not an unreasonable car in the way that a Suburban that goes to a Whole Foods parking lot and a private school parking lot is.

      With the 1.5 Turbo Civic getting a manual this fall, I’d be surprised if Jack didn’t at least think about getting one. The 6.5 second 0-60 and 50 mpg freeway are very compelling – especially in a package that’s <25k OTD.

      But having a motorcycle is one of the best things a car person can have – it really frees you up to buy the car you want because there are so few things that accelerate like a bike you can focus on a car with other attributes.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Danger Girl is going to buy either a Civic Si or Focus RS next spring depending on which one catches her fancy, apparently.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Who gets to decide what’s “unreasonable” though? In most of the world something like a Honda Fit is a typical family car. So to those folks that Accord V6 coupe will seem excessive. I just think it’s a little silly to fret over folks buying CUVs. Those folks were not going to save the manual or anything of the sort, and our excesses (speed and style) are no less unreasonable than theirs (comfort and security).

        Having a motorcycle has definitely dulled my need to have a fast car. My measly 650 twin is pretty much perfect for the street.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Fractional jet ownership works because the buy in and running costs are so high. If you think foreign car parts are pricey, try buying airplane parts. Ferrari, BMW ,etc. have nothing on a part that needs to be FAA/PMA approved.

    I personally will not be sharing my car or anything. But if people want to, go ahead. People do it now, just not formally. It could get interesting legally.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      “try buying airplane parts”

      Ain’t that the truth! At this point, we have almost as much in parts costs for our two lowly 150s as we did in original acquisition (they were mid-time engine airplanes).

      But, considering the risks involved in flying, it’s just part of the price we pay to be, truly, above the crowds.

      As for the legal issues, there’s a hint in the insurance rate our flying club pays versus individual ownership, it appears to be about 200% in our case (but then, we are focused on primary flight training).

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Not a bad idea except for those of us that use our SUV’s for towing. Just not practical to have to deal with renting an SUV anytime I need to move something on a trailer.

    I went with just buying a used DD and keeping my 9 year old Tahoe. For me a used Volt is better than any new Honda and an older SUV that I own is better than any new rental. It mostly collect dusts sitting in the garage but it’s there when I need it. No mucking around picking up a rental when I need to tow one of the boats in the summer or the snowmobile trailer in the winter. What a PITA that would be.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “You could get one of those CR-Zs, if you need a roof.”

    And that’s how you know it’s a troll! The CR-Z is awful!

  • avatar
    Drunkonunleaded

    Warren Buffet isn’t even needed. The demand for actual use would probably be so low you could simply rent a Suburban from Enterprise and then deliver it to your customer.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Jack, fractional ownership already exists. I have signed my entire family up with one. And their membership is worldwide.

    Rent cars by the hour/day/week in Toronto, New York, London or Barcelona.

    The fleet is diverse, from Minis to full size vans. And they cover fuel and insurance. Just wish they came with a greater mileage allowance.

    And for some reason in Ontario they only equipped their Corollas with winter tires. Who the heck decided that would be the best idea?????

    As for CUVs/SUV’s having to be AWD or 4WD. Sorry but those only get young/inexperienced drivers into deeper trouble. I want high ground clearance with winter tires and traction control.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      I’m pretty sure the only time I’ve ever really “needed” the rear axle engaged in my car was when I wanted to make rooster tails in fresh powder. It’s the ground clearance that really helps me. Next CUV will probably be FWD.

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    >Bushmaster AR-15s
    pleb…

    Your idea sounds good, but I’d do it with like luxo-sprinters or other nicer vans. So you really don’t have to compromise on the space and size.
    I’m not even sure that they rent actual pickup trucks around here, and when I checked prices online, they were pretty stupid compared to normal economy cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      When I owned an AR, it was a Green Label HBAR.

      I no longer own guns. As often as the Motor Trend people have tried to get me fired from my day job, I assume the next step is to have me SWATted and I’d rather not be shot dead because there’s an AR in the house.

      • 0 avatar
        Matt Foley

        In my experience, a guy sells all his guns for only one of two reasons:

        a) he became a pacifist (e.g., found Jesus, converted to Buddhism, etc)
        b) he got married and his wife won’t allow guns in the house

        Which is it, Jack?

        ***

        All kidding aside, the day TTAC fires the Baruth boys and/or bans BTSR is the last day I read it.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          For me, it’s a).

          This is as pacifist as I’ve ever been.

        • 0 avatar
          SP

          Wouldn’t that be the ultimate market for fractional ownership? Most people only need one for 1-2 minutes per lifetime, tops. So you would only need a very small number of units in stock compared to the number of your subscribers.

          The only thing is the just-in-time delivery. Now that would be the tough nut to crack.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    All this time to plan stuff and he still couldn’t help grandma buy her Buick.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Not sure what need this fills, but it’s probably imaginary.

    People don’t buy more than they need because they need it – they want it. Clearly. It’s their money. But, like Jack says, that doesn’t stop them from bragging how their Canyonero Max Trail Edition came in so handy the last time they had to pick up their new big screen TV, or haul furniture…and all it costs them is another $200 or so a month! Peanuts!

    (And meanwhile, when I bought my big screen I bought the entertainment center at a local furniture store, who rented me a truck for $20 for the whole deal…)

  • avatar

    “These are the people who reacted to the news of my purchasing a two-door Honda Accord like I’d just had unprotected sex with Courtney Love.”

    LOL! Edward Norton has been there and he survived. Life is about taking risks. And 20 years ago, that’s one I might have been willing to take but fortunately I made smarter choices.

    Seriously, there is very much a Chicken Little mentality attached to buying more vehicle than you need. When gas went past $4 back in ’08, did you notice how big SUVs were like a case of Herpes on the market?

    The point is that people don’t think ahead. Having a 5000-lb. Encore when the most you carry is 4 people and groceries is like a 5’10” man who weighs 230 lbs. Does he hibernate in the winter? No. So why carry the extra weight around?

    As for those who grouse about “my towing needs” — seriously? If you tow all the time, this model of ownership doesn’t apply to you. Obviously having your own big-rig pickup or SUV makes sense.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    Why remind everyone of your perceived shortcomings with that useless ‘vignette’ and follow with the most cogent writing (here) in six months? Whoever is curbing you at R&T needs a raise. Or possibly a secondary byline. You have the potential to age with your audience into the sunset, becoming the august statesman of your ilk, yet fall victim to childish urges when not spurred and reined. Try like Peter Egan and Thomas Bryant are watching, not the bimbo of the week. You can do it, just allow your better nature to the fore.

  • avatar
    sco

    It’s a fundamentally flawed idea because it assumes that SUV owners are rational and also that SUV owners agree that SUVs have special purposes. As near as I can tell, SUV owners want to be in their SUVs AT ALL TIMES because, if female, god forbid they could get in some horrible accident on the way to the grocery store, and, if male, they like driving their couch down the road. They don’t want a shared SUV for the special things an SUV may be good at (towing a boat or driving a family of 5 across the country), they want one all the time.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatist

      The only RATIONAL vehicle is a minivan. Do you want one?

    • 0 avatar

      I’m a female SUV owner (leaf springs and 4×4 but still widely regarded as SUV), I want to drive it all the time and I deem myself as rational as they come. Try working 12 hours, driving 4 and come back home with 2 ladders, drills, batteries, socket sets (over 400 pounds in tools). Unload everything if driving a pickup, have a hard time getting ladders out when you park really tight at a job site if a minivan. I’m sure whatever SCO drives I can criticize but won’t because it is not my business. My truck is already over 240k miles and sure I don’t do that much grocery shopping. No kids and no boat (or plans to ever have those). A utility truck would do, but harder to park and need more vertical clearance. I’ve been in one accident, my SUV was totaled and the at fault party was… a man! In a Chevy Metro Geo. Stereotypes don’t help.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Elena,
        Buy a pickup with a specialised tray (bed) on the back to suit your work. You can secure ladders, tools, parts, etc. And some look great.

        http://ir0.mobify.com/900/http://duratray.net.au/images/Mazda-dual-cab-alloy/Duratray-Deluxe-with-rear-rack,-under-&-above-body-toolboxes.jpg

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          Because who wouldn’t want to drive around in a bogan roach coach.

        • 0 avatar

          Thanks, Big Al! That is a gorgeous truck! I like shiny things (SS diamond pattern switch plates in my garage). The thing with mine is being a 2 door Explorer from 01 it is slim and short like few. Turning ratio is impressively tight. I’m 50 and can’t carry heavy objects as easily as I used to. I back truck inches to gate operator, gear reducers, whatever I need to replace. I also have air tank/compressor, power converter and lots of powerful lights right there. Ford asked what will it take to get me out of that truck. Another one just like this one! I tried a Chevy S10 with a custom box and a Transit Connect with racks installed by Ford. Getting stuff from them was far easier, but power was lousy (no way to merge unless the other driver helps, not to be expected in Miami), both were too tall for a few covered parking lots we regularly service… they can’t climb smoothly on grass, rocks (having air and power right next to where you need to work helps a lot). I open the liftgate and get some shade (glass covered with company graphics). Let me stop. I can sell that truck to anybody. I’m so madly in love that when its predecessor was destroyed bought same make/model/year.

  • avatar
    pragmatist

    You talk like gas mileage is your top priority. It’s not mine.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    Here’s my useless little vignette about old money Ohio people and NetJets. I had to go to Lunken Airport to meet a NetJets Citation that had come from Hilton Head to Cincinnati, carrying two pilots and a vase with cremated remains in it. No passengers. I was there to get the vase.

    The family flew up in two separate NetJets the next day. I would have expected them to rent upscale cars for the inurnment at the cemetery…they all rented Chevy Cruzes and Toyota Corollas, the cheapest cars the rental agency stocked. The dichotomy between flying private jets and renting el-cheapo economy cars is jarring…but that’s the way old money people operate sometimes, especially Midwestern old money people.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I think those people are from the west side of town.

      • 0 avatar
        CincyDavid

        Corey, you are spot-on…and they also have hobby farms in Indiana. The only non-rental in the group was a late model Subaru wagon that had more than the normal dents and scratches, that they use at the farm.

        Here’s the source of their money…some of it anyway. Money tends to marry money and becomes self-perpetuating.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drackett

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      People spend their money on what they deem important.

      Old money “me” (If I had old money) would do the same. I usually rent cars that are *acceptable* and a Cruze would do just fine.

      I see no reason to rent anything more while on vacation or business.

      *BUT* if I we’re somewhere and the opportunity to do something interesting like take a flight in a Stearman, or a ride in a high powered cigarette I’d pay up with alacrity.

      Just depends on what you want to spend money on.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I’d have a nice, big old house on the water. Mahogany speedboat in the boathouse. Dark green or white Rolls in the garage from the ’90s perhaps. And a Jag XJ Portfolio Super V8. And a white Range Rover with navy interiors.

        Plus like a Matrix for when none of my British crap will start.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I don’t see much upside for the ZipTank/ SUV timeshare market. Delaying gratification and limiting consumption for those who dislike the idea of sharing in the first place are three strikes against it.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    I understand fractional jet ownership but to me flying the thing is at least 3/4s of the fun.

    I’d rather put the money I’d spend in buying a fraction of a Citation/Gulfstream etc. into the purchase of something like a TBM 850.

    You only live once. I’d rather fly myself.

    • 0 avatar

      Hell, for that cash, get an old warbird. Like, WWII vintage.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        Like daily driving a car of 40’s vintage, you do not want a warbird for travel. Mustang and the like are awesome in their right, but they aren’t cross-country machines. Expensive to run and feed, they are maintenance intensive. They were designed to only last a few missions, not 70 years.

        If I had the money, I’d probably choose a TBM 850 or Pilatus myself. Maybe a Diamond TwinStar with the diesels. But I’m hoping just to swing a regular Cessna 182 one day, possibly a Cessna 206 or Cessna 210.

        My other lottery dream is, since I’m typed in a Citation, I’d just need to go back for the single pilot training. Then I could pick myself up a Citation 501 or 551, have it redone as a “Stallion conversion” for under a million total and have a nearly modern jet for way less than the cost of a new very light jet.

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      It depends on your mission. A TBM is fantastic for short 300-600nm trips if you’re a pilot. But for passengers, Jets offer far better comfort, higher operating altitudes give better rides and less weather problems, they have a small lav and galley of some kind. Once you jump up to a Citation XL you can have an exterior serviced lav and an APU to give a/c and power without worrying about GPU availability. Living in Florida and knowing how obnoxiously hot a non air conditioned airplane gets sitting on the ramp, that feature alone would be worth my $ as a passenger, especially a business one, if I could figure out how to afford it. Ownership brings plenty of headaches with it. I saw plenty of trips cancelled because of mechanical issues (or pilot issues for that matter). Netjets takes care of all that. If you are using the airplane for business, there is a substanital loss of productivity if you are the pilot and manager of the aircraft as well.

  • avatar
    Paul Alexander

    Jack, you and Rodney need a reality show.

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    13 years ago, I was doing craigslist carpool because I couldn’t find cheap reliable rides between San Francisco and Irvine every other week. In the end I offer rides and I never went alone (well, once or twice I went with huge items for people like antique car leather seats or a chest full of documents. Most of the time I got 2 passengers paying me 2x the cost of gas combined instead.

    These days you have uber, lyft, zip car, lease-your-car-when-you-fly, and all sorts of car share start up. You kids are so spoiled.

    Fractional jets are great just like fractional Ferrari or Lamborghini, you get to use it to impress a lady when you need to, and return them (the jet, the super car, and the lady) after you are done.

  • avatar
    truecarhipsterdouche

    BMW and Audi are the NetJet and MarquisJets of the car world if you think about it. You lease/rent a car and share it with the service department during the 3 year lease.

  • avatar
    stuki

    In an era of free money available to people at least semi proficient of mirror fogging, and of persistent overcapacity in the auto business; low mileage leases are, if you squint a bit, not far from your business model. Or, even outright purchase of a low depreciating vehicle like an F150. Keep the truck for the weekend run to the one physical Big Box you still visit in lieu of Amazon, and use that CB for anything else.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      But could I lease “anything from Ford”, rather than just a Fiesta?

      That’d be awesome. I’d only need a Fiesta or a Focus most of the time, but I could use an F-150 for about 3 weeks a year.

  • avatar
    Paul Alexander

    Can’t wait to read the story, Jack! Your relationship with Rodney reminds me very much of a particular friendship of mine, whose tales elicit both laughter and disbelief (for example, purposely going through a DUI checkpoint to fuck with the cops and some how avoiding arrest despite having had a few beers before doing so). There are some true butterflies in this world, but they also have teeth.

  • avatar
    Tummy

    We have two BMW i3s. When we want to go on a long road trip or buy a big item we can borrow a gas BMW loaner for free up to 14 days per i3. Usually they have x3 but sometimes x5. Sounds similar to your idea.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I keep wondering where the value is in BMW ownership. This actually is a value-add.

      Personally, I’d prefer to be able to borrow a pickup truck with the towing package over an X3, but that’s just me.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    I’d be in to this, with a couple of provisios.

    I’d like to be able to choose from a variety of vehicles that I don’t need every day: pickup truck, commercial van, tow vehicle, SUV, even a minivan.

    If it were convenient enough (drive 5 minutes, swap car, kind of like the University Motor Pool – except for personal business and 24/7), I could trade my minivan in for a 2013 Nissan LEAF and be happy.

    (My wife needs a longer range EV for her commute, but we have a reservation for a Tesla Model 3 so that’s covered.)

    Also, geographical distribution would be a big benefit. If I could drop a car-share off at one airport and pick up another up at my destination (without incurring an extra fee), that would be most-excellent.

    The business model here is that I’m paying to never have to worry about exceeding my vehicle needs again, and also never having to worry about a rental car when I travel.

    The travel portiib of it strikes me as an upper middle class luxury. Being nickel and dimed when traveling is anti-luxurious, and this could be a nice respite from that.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Jack I’ve had the same conversation with people re: buying a large vehicle the only occasionally use. I see people say “I bought a house, now I need to trade in my 370z” and I’m like why? Home Depot and Lowe’s rents pickups for cheap. How often do you really need to go fill up there? I am a homeowner and drive a Fiat 500. I’ve needed to rent a pickup from Home Depot once – when I was tiling my house. Even then, most consume vehicles wouldn’t have worked. I originally took my grandfathers Ford Ranger there but the weight of the tiles was too much. So I paid $20 and rented the super duty. Everything else I’ve ever gotten has fit in the Fiat. There’s no reason for me to take on all the negatives of driving a truck or SUV (bad not fun to drive chassis, bad gas mileage, stupid high seating position etc) just because I might need it a couple times a year.

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