Industry Insights

Why are Car Subscriptions a Key Aspect of Future Automotive Business Models?

March 7, 2023
7 min

Car subscriptions are revolutionising the way we think about car ownership. We explore why the car subscription business model will become increasingly fundamental to automotive business.

The automotive industry is undergoing significant changes and challenges. Many automotive companies are required to make major transformations to remain competitive in the market. The need to reduce emissions, improve sustainability, and enhance efficiency has pushed automakers to rethink their traditional business models. As a result, there has been a rise in new mobility services, such as subscription and sharing models, that are increasingly becoming essential for the future of automotive business models.

With climate change being a top concern, car manufacturers are under pressure to meet emissions standards, which are becoming increasingly stringent. This has forced them to invest more in research and development to create cleaner and more sustainable vehicles. This is also one of the factors leading to the growing popularity of EVs. However, the cost of transitioning to electric cars is still high for the average consumer, making consumers reluctant to purchase them outright. However, EVs are becoming an increasingly important aspect of automakers' strategies as they seek to reduce emissions and comply with regulatory standards. Car subscription services allow consumers to experience the benefits of EVs, such as low car charging expenses, without the long-term commitment of owning one.

The changing consumer demands are also driving the need for automakers to rethink their current business models. Consumers are seeking more flexibility, convenience, and personalisation in their transportation options. Car subscription provides a solution to these demands by offering a customisable, on-demand service that can be tailored to individual needs. Moreover, subscription services can provide a more seamless experience with features such as mobile apps, connected services, and integrated payment systems.

In response to these challenges, the rise of new mobility services such as car subscriptions and car sharing is fast gaining popularity. Car subscriptions, in particular, offer an alternative to car ownership, with flexible terms that can be canceled at any time and don’t lock the customer into long-term fixed deals. Car subscriptions also come with bundled services such as maintenance and insurance. These subscription services provide a more sustainable and affordable alternative to traditional car ownership, with lower upfront costs and greater flexibility.


The automotive industry is going through a shift in business models as automakers are recognising the need to adapt to changing consumer behaviour, regulatory requirements, and technological advancements. Historically, the focus of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) has been on selling cars to brokers, dealers, and other intermediaries, but this is fast changing. There is a growing emphasis on providing services directly to consumers. The traditional approach is no longer viable as consumers are increasingly looking for mobility solutions that are convenient, cost-effective, and sustainable. As a result, OEMs are beginning to shift their focus from being solely vehicle manufacturers to being service providers.

Businesses need to tweak their existing approaches to meet today’s technological advances. Digital technologies such as mobile apps, connected services, and integrated payment systems are increasingly being used to provide more convenient and personalised mobility solutions. Car subscriptions leverage these technologies to offer a seamless experience for consumers, allowing them access to a wide variety of vehicles on demand with no long-term commitment or upfront costs.

Another important factor driving the shift towards car subscriptions is the change in consumer behaviour. Consumers are becoming more interested in transportation solutions tailored to their individual needs, with greater flexibility and convenience. Car subscriptions offer precisely this, allowing consumers to choose from a variety of vehicles on-demand without having to worry about long-term commitments or maintenance and insurance costs. Moreover, car subscriptions can also provide additional benefits, such as access to premium vehicles and EVs, and lower overall costs.


The automotive industry is rapidly evolving as technological advancements, consumer behaviour, and environmental concerns shape the future of transportation. One of the trends that will significantly impact the industry is the rise of on-demand mobility services, including shared mobility and car subscriptions.

There is a growing demand for data-driven services, such as remote services and software upgrades. These services provide consumers with more personalised transportation solutions, allowing them to access real-time information.

Furthermore, there is an increasing demand for vehicle exchanges rather than traditional car ownership. With new vehicle models coming to the market all the time, modern consumers are looking for vehicles that can be upgraded easily, with new features and capabilities added over time. This has led to the development of subscription-based models, where consumers pay for access to a range of vehicles, experiences, and services rather than owning a single car.

Another factor driving the shift towards car subscriptions is consumer awareness and the growing demand for more flexible vehicle access models. Consumers are increasingly interested in transportation solutions suited to their requirements.

There is a drop in the annual growth rate and overall global car sales due to the rise of shared mobility, a decline in private car ownership, and a shift towards diverse mobility solutions. This trend is expected to continue as more consumers opt for transportation solutions that are more sustainable, cost-effective, and convenient.

The automotive industry is experiencing significant changes. As the industry continues to evolve, businesses must evolve with these changing trends, embrace technological advancements, and provide innovative solutions to remain competitive in the market.


The car subscription business model is a relatively new concept in the automotive industry. It involves a subscription-based service that allows consumers to access a range of vehicles on-demand for a fixed monthly fee. The subscription fee typically covers the cost of the vehicle, as well as maintenance, insurance, and other associated costs.

From the perspective of the subscription provider, the car subscription business model offers several advantages. Firstly, it provides a more predictable revenue stream compared to traditional car sales, which are subject to market fluctuations and seasonal variations. Secondly, it allows the provider to build a long-term relationship with the customer, which can lead to increased loyalty and customer retention. Finally, it provides the service provider with valuable data on customer preferences and usage patterns, which can be used to improve the service and develop new offerings.

The car subscription business model offers a range of benefits to both consumers and providers, including greater flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability. As the industry evolves, we will likely see more innovative subscription-based offerings that cater to a broader range of customer needs and preferences. Ultimately, the success of the subscription business model will depend on its ability to deliver value to customers while remaining financially sustainable and environmentally responsible.


The rise of on-demand mobility services and the decline of private car ownership has created a gap in the market for more flexible vehicle access models. Consumers are looking for options that provide convenience, affordability, and flexibility, which the car subscription business model can provide by offering a range of vehicles on-demand, with all associated costs included in a fixed monthly fee.

Technological advances and changes in consumer behaviour are disrupting the traditional points of sale in the automotive industry, such as car ownership and car leasing. Instead, consumers want more flexible options that allow them the ability to exchange or upgrade their vehicle and customise their subscription package according to their changing needs and requirements.

Subscribers can switch between different vehicles and packages as their needs change, and providers can use data to optimise the utilisation and maintenance of vehicles, ensuring that they remain up-to-date and competitive.

Compared to traditional ownership, leasing, and rentals, the car subscription business model is becoming more and more attractive to consumers, where subscribers can access a range of vehicles without committing to a long-term contract or large upfront deposits and payments.


The car subscription business model is also proving to be more profitable for fleet owners, dealerships, and OEMs, who can benefit from reduced costs, increased efficiency, and improved sustainability. By using data to optimise their utilisation and vehicle maintenance, fleet owners can reduce their downtime and minimise repair costs. Additionally, by offering a range of vehicles and packages, car subscription services can help fleet owners better meet the needs of their customers and improve their overall profitability.

One of the key benefits of the subscription business model is that it allows fleet owners to extend the life cycle of a vehicle.

The life cycle of a vehicle in the subscription business model typically involves four stages: acquisition, utilisation, maintenance, and disposition. During the acquisition stage, the provider acquires the car through purchase or lease. During the utilisation stage, the vehicle is made available to subscribers for a fixed period, typically from a few weeks to several months. The maintenance stage involves ongoing maintenance and repairs to keep the vehicle in good condition, typically covered by the subscription fee. Finally, during the disposition stage, the vehicle is sold or leased to another party or is retired from service.

The car subscription business model allows fleet owners to use their vehicles more efficiently by making them available to multiple customers over their lifetime. This can reduce waste and promote sustainability by maximising the use of existing resources. Additionally, providers can use data and analytics to optimise the utilisation and maintenance of vehicles, ensuring that they are used efficiently and kept in good condition throughout their life cycle.


Going forward, we can expect continued growth in the car subscription industry, with more innovative offerings catering to a broader range of customer needs and preferences. The car subscription business model has the potential to revolutionise the automotive industry by providing a more sustainable, cost-effective, and efficient solution for consumers and fleet owners alike. As the industry grows, it will be interesting to see how traditional automakers and new entrants adapt to this new reality and embrace the subscription-based business model.

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Joe Capocci

Senior Marketing Specialist


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