QOTD: Feeling That Freedom of Choice?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Mike Some Evs are hitting their 3 year lease residual values in 6 months.
  • Tassos Jong-iL I am just here for the beer! (did I say it right?)
  • El scotto Tim, to be tactful I think a great many of us would like a transcript of TTAC's podcast. 90 minutes is just too long for most of us to listen. -evil El Scotto kicking in- The blog at best provides amusement, 90 minutes is just too much. Way too much.
  • TooManyCars VoGhost; I was referring more to the Canadian context, but the same graft is occurring in the US of A and Europe. Political affiliation appears to be irrelevant.
  • The Oracle Going to see a lot of corporations migrating out of Delaware as the state of incorporation. Musk sets trends, he doesn’t follow them.