Subscription services set to be standard practice

Subscription services are likely to become the norm rather than the exception as consumers increasingly favour the flexibility this ownership model offers.

For example, subscription will allow drivers to turn off the functionality for heated seats during the summer, while switching on or deactivating other features according to needs and budgets.

For manufacturers, the model will also offer an opportunity to increase revenues as modern vehicles don’t visit dealerships as frequently before; regular software could instead be billed as ‘digital valets’.

Peter Galek, product engineering director at VNC Automotive, said: “Exciting new features or upgrades for a vehicle are a strong incentive for traditional vehicle users to subscribe. Such models give OEMs the best chance of marketing more features over the vehicle’s lifetime.”

Meanwhile, new figures from YouGov show customers are more tolerant and accepting of rented vehicle access. Three in 10 (30%) say they don’t want to own a vehicle as their needs may change.

The same survey showed a shift towards acceptance of car subscription models which allows users to choose vehicles according to their lifestyle requirements. Younger drivers are tending to shun the ownership model, seeing vehicles as a transient commodity.

Agustin Almansi, sales engineering director at VNC Automotive, said: “Witness the monumental shift in the entertainment industry for streaming music and movies. Short-term leases and shared car ownership schemes like Zipcar and Co-Wheels versus having a car sat in the driveway show customers are open to the idea of subscriptions.

“It’s clear to see that convenience and choice are key drivers behind a subscription model for certain vehicle features and, if such a move does deliver the flexibility that customers increasingly expect in everyday life, there’s a very strong case that such an approach will become the norm rather than the exception.”