Automakers go to great lengths to make their cars stand out, but surprisingly they do very little to make the actual ownership experience pleasant. Typically, it’s the exclusive responsibility of the dealership or third-party firms to look after the customer.
Volvo is introducing a new model, one that could potentially revolutionize the car ownership experience should it prove popular. It’s a subscription program called Care by Volvo, and it’s much like the subscription program you may have for your mobile phone.
You can sign up for the program from home and you will pay a flat monthly fee no matter where in the country you live. There’s no need to go to a dealership and haggle over a price. (Does it really make sense that you can end up paying a different price to someone else for the same product?)
Care by Volvo launches with the 2019 XC40 and while we’re still waiting on the cost for the United States, in the United Kingdom we know the subscription will cost £629 per month for 24 months. At current exchange rates, that would come to $853 per month or about $10,200 a year.
The contract term will be lower in the U.S., with Volvo hinting at 12 or 18 months. The automaker says it will have the final numbers ready by the time the XC40 makes its auto show debut at November’s 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show. And after the contract period is up, you can either walk away or swap to a new car. You will also have the option of keeping the car at the end of the period by paying a remaining figure.
On an initial glance Care by Volvo may seem steep but you basically have no other costs to worry about apart from fuel. You’re skipping things like depreciation, insurance and maintenance. You don’t even have to replace the tires or brakes, nor have to shop around for a decent deal. There will be mileage caps, though.
Whether it will work out cheaper than simply buying or leasing, both of which you can also do should you choose, will depend on your own situation, but there’s no denying the hassle-free nature of the program, which some may be willing to pay a premium for.
But there’s more. No, not steak knives we’re afraid. Care by Volvo will also provide a number of additional services and the list will be expanding with time. At launch, there will be a concierge service that will pick up and drop off your car whenever it needs servicing. The concierge will also be able to top up your fuel if you’re running low. You’ll also be able to access a different model from Volvo's lineup for short periods; for example, in case you need a bigger vehicle to go camping. Volvo says it will keep expanding the number of services included in the subscription. Note, some services are dependent on location.
Care by Volvo will go live in the U.S. following the XC40’s debut at the L.A. Auto Show. Eventually all Volvo models will be included in the program.