Cadillac Will Let Fickle People Borrow From Its Fleet for $1,500 a Month

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

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]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Doug-g Doug-g on Jan 06, 2017

    I find this to be an excellent concept: you can have basically "one car" and multiple vehicles. And, if Book is rolled out nation-wide, have them in various locations. More than a few people own two or more homes and enjoy activities that call for different types of vehicles. Book accommodates this.

  • Mdensch Mdensch on Jan 09, 2017

    Not to be confused with the Westin Book Cadillac. That costs more than $1500/month but they make your bed every day. (And it's in Detroit, not NYC.)

  • Calrson Fan Jeff - Agree with what you said. I think currently an EV pick-up could work in a commercial/fleet application. As someone on this site stated, w/current tech. battery vehicles just do not scale well. EBFlex - No one wanted to hate the Cyber Truck more than me but I can't ignore all the new technology and innovative thinking that went into it. There is a lot I like about it. GM, Ford & Ram should incorporate some it's design cues into their ICE trucks.
  • Michael S6 Very confusing if the move is permanent or temporary.
  • Jrhurren Worked in Detroit 18 years, live 20 minutes away. Ren Cen is a gem, but a very terrible design inside. I’m surprised GM stuck it out as long as they did there.
  • Carson D I thought that this was going to be a comparison of BFGoodrich's different truck tires.
  • Tassos Jong-iL North Korea is saving pokemon cards and amibos to buy GM in 10 years, we hope.