From Maruti Suzuki to Zoomcar, cars are now easily available for subscription in India's major cities. But are people really buying? And why should you go for a car subscription?
Car industry is going through a slump in sales. Economic slowdown and COVID-19 lockdown are some of the major reasons to blame the woes of automobile industry. However, there is another reason that might be impacting the sales number of carmakers.
Car subscription has never been a popular choice in India where people take pride in owning a car. Not anymore! Millennials are not positive with the idea of buying a car that involves huge interest, tax, and maintenance costs. People are now becoming open to the idea of vehicle leasing and subscription plans to meet their commuting needs.
Here is why buy car subscription in India.
Leasing vs subscribing
Let us first debunk the confusion of leasing vs subscribing. Leasing requires no down payment, however, if you need to relocate frequently then leasing might not be the best option. It asks for long term commitment of 24 to 48 months and leasing company might not allows you to relocate. On top of that, some plans also come with limited kilometers that you can drive in a month or year. And the charges are massive if you exceed the kilometers.
Subscription plans are more liberal and customer-friendly. They come with a monthly subscription fees that covers the basic rental, unlimited kilometers, roadside assistance, maintenance, and insurance. That means, you will not have to take a loan or pay massive interests to service a car loan. You can own a car by just paying the monthly rental.
Car subscription also allows to relocate without any hassle. Normally, car subscription companies offer you another car at your new location without any added costs. Even if you meet an accident, you are covered under adequate insurance plan.
Drive multiple car models frequently
If you are a car enthusiast who loves trying new cars then subscription model is the best bet. Car subscription companies like Zoomcar, MyChoize, and Revv allow you to subscribe car on a monthly basis. That means, you can change your car even after a month. You don't have to stick with a single car for multiple years. You can frequently try new models offered in the market.
You can also change you car as per your needs. For instance, you can subscribe to a SUV if you have your parents coming to visit and you need to travel with them frequently over the period of few days or months. And get back to your regular hatchback when they are gone. This way, you can save a lot of money that you would have otherwise spent on hiring big cabs.
When CarInfo reached to India's largest subscription based company Zoomcar; it told us:
With subscriptions, consumers have hassle-free access to cars of their choice, without any fine-print or hidden costs. It puts forth mobility as a service that is made easily accessible, whenever the need arises.
It also quipped that people are now more open to having a better experience, and car subscription makes the experience hassle-free. Car subscription is also a better option for people who prefer variety instead of sticking with one car.
Recently Maruti Suzuki has also launched its car subscription model. India's leading automaker has partnered with ORIX Auto Infrastructure Service to run the scheme. When we reached one of its executives working with Nexa, he reiterated the fact that young customers are now more inclined towards subscription model. The major benefit of subscription model is that it eliminates any long-term financial commitment amid economic slowdown and job uncertainties.
Zoomcar also told us that younger generation in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune are early adopters of car subscription model followed by Chennai, Mumbai, and Delhi NCR.
As per Hyundai Motor India's National Sales Head Vikas Jain:
The fundamental decision to get into the subscription emanated from the fact that there are millennials who need different ownership model, they want a car without owning it. New mindset don't want to commit long term or to tie up to 3-5 years EMI. So they are looking at something for a shorter period of time. It is these young customers who will drive this scheme and the only thing which is a barrier right now is awareness level.
Drive your dream car
Maybe you can't buy a particular car that is out of your pocket. But you can afford to buy car subscription of your dream car for a few months and live your dream. For instance, you can drive a SUV for around ₹ 35,000 per month or a sedan for around ₹ 30,000 per month. No down payment and no loan. How cool is that!
Why not buy a used car?
You can go for a used car if you want more personalized ownership. However, you will still have to shell out multiple lakhs of rupees to buy used car. On top of that, used car attracts larger maintenance costs due to wear and tear. It can be a more expensive proposition than subscription in the long run.
Plus, when you buy car subscription, majority of companies offer a brand new car. Especially, when you go with auto majors like Maruti, Hyundai, and Toyota among others.
Car subscription is a hassle-free way to own a brand new car with no massive upfront investment. You can own a car in as low as 15,000 bucks in India. It makes sense to subscribe to a car service if you don't want to make long-term monetary commitment. It is also a good option for people who need to relocate frequently or want to change cars frequently.
However, if you are a keeper who loves driving the same car for years then you should go with buying the car.