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From vehicle ownership to usage-based subscription models

While mobility offerings such as car sharing are clearly the answer for short-term mobility with maximum flexibility, we have seen a gap in the market for mid-term flexible mobility solutions. Vehicle subscription models will play a key role in filling that gap. In Europe’s five core markets, we expect more than 10 percent of new vehicle registrations for private and corporate customers to be subscription-based by 2025. Overall this represents a volume of >€22bn in new annual auto financing which is up for grabs by new players. Download the Deloitte white paper ”Vehicle-as-a-Service” or “Subscription decoded” to find out more.

Issue #2 (09/2022): How to win the race

In fact, the trend from ownership to usership is happening even faster than initially forecast. The vibrant subscription market clearly indicates the viability of the business model and marks a clear transition from the “early adopter” towards the “early majority” stage. The crucial question for all players now is how to win the race in this dynamic and competitive market. As many players underestimate the complexity of the task of putting subscription strategy to action, we will shed light on the way the design criteria impact strategic product choices and what that means for the business and operating model.

Subscription decoded : Download whitepaper

Issue #1 (03/2021): Customer demand is shifting from ownership to usage-based models

More and more of today's private and corporate customers see vehicle ownership as a burden. Cars have lost their image as status symbols – and not just for millennials. Owning a vehicle comes with responsibilities and long-term commitments that many people are no longer willing to accept. Hence, the automotive trend away from ownership towards usage-based models is gradually picking up speed.

Vehicle-as-a-Service - Download the PDF

The Best of Both Worlds

Vehicle subscriptions work similarly to other well-known subscription models, e.g., from the music industry: customers pay a flat monthly fee that grants them access to a vehicle (or music) that they can use as they please (within the terms of the contract). Once customers no longer need the vehicle, they have the flexibility to terminate the contract or to upgrade or downgrade to a different vehicle category/ type (or account type) that better suits their needs. This gives customers the advantages of leasing/buying (i.e., their own personal vehicle for a certain period) combined with those of car-sharing/ride-hailing (i.e., flexible mobility without a prolonged financial commitment) in a single convenient product. As a result, subscriptions offer a “happy medium” within the vehicle-based mobility product portfolio.

Subscriptions add the most value when they are part of a broader mobility services portfolio

Subscription business models can also act as strategic building blocks that allow companies to optimise asset utilisation across the entire vehicle lifecycle. In the past, the business model options were quite limited. Car companies either sold a new vehicle directly to the end customer or leased the vehicle and then remarketed it as a used vehicle after the lease agreement expired. Today’s customers are demanding more flexibility, which is putting pressure on vehicle ownership and therefore on traditional one-off sales models. Players can utilise vehicle subscriptions as a building block to master the transformation from one-off asset sales to vehicle-as-a-service models. This is the key to optimising asset utilisation and revenue performance across multiple vehicle lifecycles. Most companies, however, will have to overcome traditional silo thinking to get there.

Vehicle-as-a-Service: Who is best positioned to win in the long run?

Today, mainly new players are attracting attention with their subscription models. They gained an early-mover advantage, acquired customers and experience and developed a high degree of digital maturity. Although the large incumbents (e.g. leasing & rental companies, Captives & OEMs) may be lagging behind at the moment, they may still win in the end.
Having a favourable starting position to launch their own subscription offers is one thing, making the right choices to prevent the competition from outpacing them is quite another.

The following are the most urgent action items for incumbents:

  1. Get up to speed with state-of-the-art digital sales, superior customer engagement and data analytics.
  2. Build a thoughtful subscription offering that aligns with the overall product strategy.
  3. Manage all sales channels in close alignment to maximise customer and vehicle lifetime value across all products and overcome the traditional siloed view.
  4. Optimise asset pool utilisation using analytics-based dynamic pricing. 
  5. Build a multi-brand strategy (particularly relevant for Captives and OEMs).

While new entrants are currently leading, incumbents still have the potential to catch up by configuring the right sustainable model. Vehicle subscription models are here to stay, promising to transform the vehicle finance market as we know it. The time to act is now.

Download the Deloitte white paper ”Vehicle-as-a-Service: From vehicle ownership to usage-based subscription models”  or "Subscription Decoded" to find out more.

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