The End Of Car Ownership? Cadillac Launches Vehicle ‘Subscriptions’

BOOK service lets you drive any Cadillac you want on a month-to-month committment

Photo Illustration: Vocativ
Jan 09, 2017 at 11:17 AM ET

Car makers are worried right now as young people turn away from traditional car ownership. U.S. car sales had a big decline last year, and meanwhile, people in cities are finding it easier than ever to use ride hailing services like Uber and rental services like Zipcar.

Cadillac is hoping it’s found the answer to reinventing car ownership, with its new luxury vehicle subscription service. The brand’s upcoming BOOK service will give members access to popular Cadillac vehicles without the long-term commitment of leasing, financing or buying — they just have to pay a monthly fee of $1,500.

“BOOK is aimed squarely at Gen X and Y customers who want the experience of a luxury vehicle without the hassles of traditional ownership,” Melody Lee, director or brand marketing, told Vocativ. “BOOK fills a gap between traditional ownership (leasing, financing, buying) and the efficient, but less personal aspect of rental, car- and ride-sharing (Hertz, Zipcar, Uber/Lyft).”

BOOK’s $1,500 monthly fee is definitely more expensive than just leasing a Cadillac, which could cost about $300-$750 a month, depending on the model. However, Cadillac’s pitch is that members only have a month-to-month commitment, can switch cars whenever (up to 18 times a year) and also don’t have a limit on mileage. Members also benefit by not having to worry about registration, taxes, maintenance and insurance — all that is handled by Cadillac. If a member were to get involved in an accident and they were responsible, Cadillac would cover the premium but the member would pay a $750 deductible — similar to claims under typical insurances. Another, less significant, perk is that members are invited to all Cadillac events that are otherwise not open to the public.

Cars will be requested and picked up via an app that prompts a white-glove concierge. The concierge would then take the train back to headquarters, or have another driver from the fleet drive him away. Those who subscribe will be able to keep a car for as long as they want and trade it in for another model whenever they like. ­

BOOK will officially launch in New York City on February 1 as a month-to-month arrangement. The service will eventually become available in other markets across the U.S. such as Los Angeles. It will be interesting to see whether this could become a model for other, less luxury cars.