QOTD: Feeling That Freedom of Choice?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd feeling that freedom of choice

Recent subscription-related news arising from the bottom and top ends of the automotive social ladder has this writer thinking about freedom — freedom of choice, of movement, and of personal wealth. Popular topics these days, what with the budding Jacobins burning up Twitter with their guillotine fantasies.

But enough about auto journos.

As automakers dip their toes in the subscription model pool, offering customers not just a vehicle but a whole range of models for a monthly fee, we have to ask: to what OEM would you pay a relatively princely sum in exchange for unlimited vehicle access?

Well, access will surely be limited in some manner. Perhaps you’ll have to return that Ford GT after a week, or maybe pay an additional amount for each day behind the wheel. The subscription model offers OEMs a number of ways to milk extra dough out of the customer.

Looking at yesterday’s news about an all-AMG lineup on offer from Mercedes-Benz (a subscription tier that targets customers in Atlanta), one can’t help but choke a bit on the $3,500+ monthly fee. That’s triple the monthly cost of financing an AMG C 63 coupe with no down payment — and at the end of that loan term, you’d at least own a car.

Let’s use that 3x figure for our exercise. While some subscription models open the door to a modest range of lower-priced vehicles for a sum that could get you into, say, a loaded pickup, unlocking the top end of an automaker’s lineup requires more green.

Think of a vehicle you’re interested in. Figure out what it would cost to finance, then triple the monthly payment. That figure will now get you into the entire lineup, from subcompact hatches to hulking SUVs and sports cars. Every day of the week could see a new car appear in your driveway, ready and willing to coax you further out of your shell.

Which automaker has enough variation (and stimulation) to make the extra expenditure worthwhile? Keep in mind we’re playing with real money here — yours — and not a pile of dog-eared Monopoly currency.

[Image: General Motors]

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2 of 32 comments
  • Jim Bonham Thanks.
  • Luke42 I just bought a 3-row Tesla Model Y.If Toyota made a similar vehicle, I would have bought that instead. I'm former Prius owner, and would have bought a Prius-like EV if it were available.Toyota hasn't tried to compete with the Model Y. GM made the Bolt EUV, and Ford made the Mach-E. Tesla beat them all fair and square, but Toyota didn't even try.[Shrug]
  • RHD Toyota is trying to hedge their bets, and have something for everyone. They also may be farther behind in developing electric vehicles than they care to admit. Japanese corporations sometimes come up with cutting-edge products, such as the Sony Walkman. Large corporations (and not just Japanese corporations) tend to be like GM, though - too many voices just don't get heard, to the long-term detriment of the entity.
  • Randy in rocklin The Japanese can be so smart and yet so dumb. I'm America-Japanese and they really can be dumb sometimes like their masking paranoia.
  • Bunkie The Flying Flea has a fascinating story and served, inadvertently, to broaden the understanding of aircraft design. The crash described in the article is only part of the tale.