At a time when consumers can lock the doors of their home with their smartphone or pay for a purchase by simply waving their debit or credit card over a scanner, it’s only natural that the automobile industry has forged its own path in introducing the most advanced technology, features, options and programs in its latest models. Cadillac has always taken a leading role in bringing those innovations to consumers and any Cadillac dealership will continue to be the go-to resource for information and services.
From a historical perspective, consumers have primarily had two options when they’re in the market for their first or next vehicle; they could either buy that vehicle or lease it. Now, there’s a third option called car subscription services. Car subscription services aim to take advantage of the latest technology to provide a service that consumers can easily access in-person or from the convenience of a smartphone app, in most instances. So, what is a car subscription service?
Essentially, consumers pay a set monthly fee to gain access to a vehicle. Here are some key characteristics of car subscription services:
- They vary in price, which generally determined by the vehicle and the terms of the subscriber agreements. Most agreements require what is called an initiation fee in addition to the monthly fee. The initiation fee typically ranges from $200-$600.
- They are offered/backed by auto manufacturers, businesses or organizations.
- They don’t require a long-term agreement. Service agreements can be canceled with little or no penalty.
- They may require a credit card at the initial time of sign up.
- They may offer new and used vehicle. It’s important to note that “new” can mean the vehicle has never been used. “New” can also mean the vehicle is of the current model year, but the subscriber may not be the first person to drive the vehicle. “Used” typically means the vehicle is less than three years old. However, there are some subscriber services that offer vehicles that are six years or older. Whether “new” or “used,” all programs guarantee the condition of their vehicles.
- They may require a credit check and driving record to ensure consumers can afford the monthly fee and to confirm consumers have a legal driver’s license and to determine whether the driver has done anything that would be concerning in their driver history.
- They may have a mileage limitation built into the agreement. By that same token, they may offer unlimited mileage. They may offer consumers the ability to select a mileage option and have the cost built into the subscriber agreement. If consumers opt for a mileage-limit option, there is a per-mile charge for exceeding that limit.
- They may stipulate how the vehicle can be used. It’s an industry where it’s necessary to maintain a fleet of vehicles for quick turnaround however it’s also important to reduce the potential for unexpected repairs and cleaning requirements. Usage limits may include requiring the use of pet carriers, deeming vehicles smoke-free zones, requiring authorization to add drivers to the agreement, requiring a location-specific range and requiring vehicle tracking to protect the subscriber and vehicle.
- They may require periodic reviews of driving records.
Though most car subscription services have similar features, they are still different. It’s important for consumers to do their research and be sure they ask questions to ensure they understand the terms of any car subscriber service they are interested in.
BOOK by Cadillac
Though currently not accepting new subscribers BOOK by Cadillac was the first car subscriber service by an auto manufacturer that offered on-demand services. It was introduced in January 2017 and made available in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas. The subscriber service operated on a three-part platform:
- A simpler, smarter way to drive
- Different cars for different needs
- White-glove concierge service
It was a platform quite fitting for GM’s luxury brand.
The service required a $500 initiation fee and a $1,800 monthly fee. The monthly subscription covered registration, insurance, taxes and maintenance. Subscribers were afforded 18 vehicle swaps a year with the option of making daily swaps upon request. All vehicles came with a 2,000-mile mileage allowance per month and Cadillac offered convenient pickups and deliveries to subscribers’ preferred addresses.
Subscribers had access to six Cadillac models, including V-line performance vehicles:
Cadillac owned the vehicles, the service provided and handled the day-to-day business operations. Each vehicle was a Platinum trim-level vehicle, meaning they came with the most exquisite Cadillac design, features and options the brand offers. Availability of specific models was determined by the market in which the service was provided.
Cadillac paused the program in December 2018, as executives noted the program was its test run in the car-subscriber service market. Their goal was to evaluate the program’s performance to determine its strengths and weaknesses, allowing them to strategically plan for a reintroduction to the car-subscriber-service market later on.
Enter BOOK 2.0. Cadillac’s redesigned car subscriber service is projected to debut in 2019, at the end of the first quarter or at the beginning of the second quarter at the latest. The revamped subscriber service will roll out as a pilot program in select cities though Cadillac has not released the specifics of where the program will be made available. Applying the knowledge the brand gathered from the initial BOOK by Cadillac, BOOK 2.0 will be consumer-focused, it will be spearheaded by Cadillac’s almost 1,000 dealerships across the United States and the brand will provide oversight.
Dealerships will play a more active role in the day-to-day operations. Cadillac determined this would be a more cost-effective and efficient manner in which to manage and implement the service. Cadillac executives see BOOK 2.0 as a way to help dealerships transition as the car-buying model is evolving to include car subscriber services in addition to traditional loan and lease agreements.
BOOK 2.0 will debut an adaptation of the previous service’s swap-vehicle feature. For example, Cadillac observed that few customers were needing or wanting to swap vehicles on a daily basis. Deborah Wahl, head of Cadillac marketing, also noted BOOK 2.0 will feature “new technology and different marketing.”
Consumers interested in program details should reach out to any of their local Cadillac dealerships for more information.
Cadillac’s introduction of its BOOK 2.0 car subscriber service is in conjunction with GM’s major overall of the brand. As GM President Mark Reuss passionately stated, “We’ve got one chance. This is it. We will leave nothing on the table, but we’ve got to get there…We’re going to get there.”
GM, and Cadillac specifically, is striving to retain its leadership position and continue a legacy of setting an industry standard when it comes to creating luxury vehicles and providing luxury programs and services with consumers in mind.
A major part of GM’s Cadillac overhaul involves introducing a luxury-model crossover on the auto manufacturer’s EV platform. It will be the first GM model developed on the EV platform. Though there has been no talk or indication from GM executives, it’s possible this future EV will be added to BOOK 2.0’s list of available vehicles. BOOK 2.0 and the EV platform complement each other and align with GM’s projected plan for the direction the Cadillac brand is heading based on consumer demand and auto-industry changes.
Cadillac leaves very little, if any, doubt that like its vehicle lineup and other services, BOOK 2.0 will give consumers the feel of an exclusive membership cloaked in luxury that only Cadillac can offer.
To learn more about BOOK 2.0 or how to sign up for the car subscriber service, stop by a Cadillac dealership near you.