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  • Sep 23, 2021
  • 2 Minutes

What are subscription cars and why are they so popular with younger people?

Subscriptions are fast becoming a major part of our everyday lives, with services such as Netflix transforming the way that many of us consume content.

In fact, the digitilisation of the modern world now influences the way that we consume TV, music and even the food we eat.

And our latest study* has revealed that the millennial generation are keen to adopt a modern way of accessing cars that sees users subscribe to a vehicle rather than own one outright.

Our data insights team has found that six in 10 people aged 18 to 34 are interested in accessing a car via a subscription, similar to services such as Netflix and Spotify, where you can cancel anytime.

However, desire for subscription cars appears to decrease with age, with just 39% of 35 to 44 year olds saying they’re interested in a subscription service.

This drops further among people aged 45 to 54 (26%), people aged 55 to 64 (18%) and people aged 65 to 74 (11%).

What are subscription cars?

With subscription cars, all the costs needed to run your vehicle are typically bundled into one monthly payment, and unlike other models of ownership, users simply hand the car back when they cancel their subscription.

Earlier this month, Volkswagen Financial Services AG announced plans to develop and implement car subscription models for selected brands in the Volkswagen Group across Europe.

The move is reflective of an evolving market, with recent industry research** showing that in the UK alone 31% of drivers want flexibility to change their vehicle to suit their mobility needs, whilst 22% are interested in a subscription that allows access to various models from the same brand. 

What can Volkswagen Financial Services UK offer?

To that end, we launched our Rent-a-Car platform in 2018, which allows you to rent a vehicle for a week, a month or longer – offering an excellent choice of vehicles, options and insurance cover for all our customers.

The Rent-a-Car platform also boasts a flexible long-term rental option*** for anyone needing to rent a car for several months or more, which in many ways is similar to subscription. With a long-term rental, there are no ownership costs, customers have flexibility to change the vehicle monthly, and it’s a very simple process.

More from our research

Our research also found that people aged 18 to 34 are four times as likely (77%) as people over the age of 55 (18%) to use a smartphone to research their next car.

However, more than half of all Brits surveyed (53%) said it is important that their smartphone can connect to their car.

Interestingly, this is more important amongst men than it is amongst women, with 56% of males answering that it is important, versus 50% of females, which represents a significant difference.

What do the experts say?

Our CEO Mike Todd explained that subscriptions are here to stay and as a car finance provider it is our responsibility to make the products and services we offer more digitally accessible.

He said: “The way that people buy and rent cars is fast evolving and we need to make sure that, as our customers continue to engage more with digital technology, we make their online journey as simple and as convenient as possible.

“Subscriptions are becoming increasingly central to how we consume content, food, and almost everything in between, so it stands to reason that people – particularly younger people – are interested in accessing vehicles in the same way.”

For more on long term rentals, visit https://www.vwfsrentacar.co.uk/car-hire/long-term-car-hire

READ MORE: Are you planning a staycation this year? Our research suggests you probably are!

READ MORE: Three big reasons why you should consider driving an electric car

Research sources:

*The data for this study was collected between 6th August 2021 and 8th August 2021 and comprises responses from 2,012 British respondents.

**Source: Market Sizes: McKinsey & Company: Automotive revolution – perspective towards 2030, Statista.com; Facts: Deloitte: Automotive Study 2021, Arthur D. Little: The Future of Automotive Mobility (Feb 2021).

***For long term rentals, visit https://www.vwfsrentacar.co.uk/car-hire/long-term-car-hire

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