Lincoln to Rent Cars By the Month

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Lincoln Motor Co. next year will pilot month-to-month vehicle subscriptions as it expands nontraditional vehicle ownership services.

One of the wackier aspects of this is that insurance will be included. How that works – and how much it will cost – is anyone’s guess.

Executives said the pilot likely will start in a few cities in California, and marketing chief Robert Parker promised significantly lower prices than similar subscription services from rival brands that can cost thousands of dollars.

Lincoln is testing the subscription model to help lure more customers and stand out as Ford’s only luxury make after the automaker shed Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo during the recession and sales downturn. The brand has struggled for relevancy in a crowded luxury field but has experienced a mini-renaissance in recent years, and is on pace for a fourth straight year of U.S. sales growth behind redesigned vehicles and the addition of unique customer experiences.

The fee for the Lincoln service will be all-inclusive, covering insurance, maintenance, roadside assistance and vehicle pickup and delivery. Customers can change vehicles every month, and the pricing will depend on the vehicle, although executives declined to discuss specifics.

“Long-term leases will obviously play a role in our overall portfolio, but in the spirit of effortlessness, there is a consumer out there who doesn’t really need a three-year lease,” Lincoln President Kumar Galhotra told reporters ahead of the auto show here. “We’re coming up with a different ownership model for them.”

An increasing number of automakers are offering vehicle subscription services. Cadillac this year launched a subscription pilot – called Book by Cadillac – and has expanded it to Los Angeles and Dallas. Porsche rolled out its own pilot in Atlanta, called Porsche Passport. A number of startups, auto lenders and dealers also are offering their own subscription models.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Another reason people are moving away from cars (and to plans like this) – the con insurance has become in the west….. here in the UK most everyone pays more for insurance than their first car!!! This is the case for at least the first 5 years…. And the more powerful a car, the more the insurance goes up from there!!

    Because of this, for many living in or around urban centres, even those who DO love cars – this is the only practical option to have a car…… motoring as we knew is completely under siege from all directions it seems….

  2. I wonder how far you can travel before the milage penalty kicks in?

    I wonder if you’ll be able to smoke, eat and/or spill whatever in the back seat?

    I wonder what happens when you shift an MKZ into reverse at 80 MPH?

    I wonder if the app I downloaded will still pop the trunk after I turn the car back in?

    I wonder if it will make it up that single track road?

    I wonder how the smart cruise control reacts to icy roads?

    Well wonder no more! Just rehearse the following line “Honest, I have no idea how that happened.” When you get it to Oscar-Winning performance level, turn the car back in and ask for another.

  3. Heard a good story about a Lincoln today. This woman tells me she had a boyfriend trucker once and they’re traveling down the road when another trucker came on he radio and said “Hey Prime(or Dart or whoever it was, she couldn’t remember)you just wiped out a Lincoln Continental”.

    I said that could rack you up some bad points real quick. She broke up and said “Oh, he didn’t have many good points to begin with”. She busted out laughing and I did too. Maybe you had to be there.

  4. The risk Lincoln takes with this is: will it cheapen the brand? Price it too high and there will be few takers. Price it too cheaply, it just turns into a crappy rental car, and you know what happens to cars the populate rental fleets.

  5. Hell, considering the govt. makes you pay annual rent (prop. tax) on your own property anyway, people will just as happily let someone else pay the prop. tax. Especially if the prop tax is anywhere close to the cost of annual rental. It will be economics that will force it into being, whatever the outcome, even if the govt has to cheat and influence the economics of the whole situation in order to do it.

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