Nissan is launching a test program of its new subscription service, ‘Nissan Switch.’ To speak to a culture of consumers who gobble up on-demand services in so many other areas of their lives, Nissan is now offering a similar platform that allows members to switch cars every day. Porsche, Volvo, Audi, and Cadillac have all tempted to provide this service, with mixed success and profitability. However, Nissan is putting a twist on this subscription that may speak to today’s consumer lifestyle.
Houston Residents Can Select from Two Tiers
Nissan is testing this program exclusively in Houston, Texas, for now. The subscription offers two tiers, both with conveniently bundled packages of extras. Pay either $699/month or $899/month, respectively, and have your choice of available Nissan models. There are 11 vehicles in total that qualify for both tiers, including the Altima, Pathfinder, Murano, Armada, and Titan pickup. All qualifying models are also said to be well-equipped with features, including the popular driver-assist system, ProPilot 2.0. For an extra $100/day, you can even drive the sporty GT-R. The platform allows for a no questions asked, daily switch of vehicles if the subscription member chooses to do so.
The Fine Print
The monthly fee is roughly the same as a car payment, but with this service, it includes so much more. Nissan bundles delivery, insurance, roadside assistance, as well as all regular maintenance. Should a consumer choose to switch vehicles, a Nissan concierge will arrive to deliver the newly selected vehicle and even help to unload any luggage, groceries, or belongings into the new ride. There is some fine print, though. There will be a $495 membership activation fee applied to each level of subscription, just to get started. A Nissan representative told Techspot.com that the Nissan Switch program would also limit members to a range of 2,000 miles or 180 days, whichever comes first. At this point, the consumer will be required to change to a different vehicle. Preventative maintenance schedules may also translate to a member switching out a current ride for a new one.
Subscription Car Swapping Still on the Fringe
Nissan is not the first to offer this on-demand, choose your own adventure vehicle program. Other automakers have attempted similar services, but have not been met with much profitability. Cadillac put the brakes on its subscription service back in 2018, and Ford sold its service off last fall. Nissan’s leadership has renewed confidence in its latest platform. Vice President of business development, Andrew Tavi, discussed just how viable it might prove to be during a press release. He said this service is intended to be a “solution” for those consumers who want a “sedan during the week” with the option to pick an SUV or “sports car, like the GT-R, on the weekends.” There may be truth there knowing many consumers often need a fuel-efficient commuter car during the week but may want the SUV or pickup weekend warrior vehicle.
How Subscription Services Could Affect Dealers
Subscription services have become increasingly popular with consumers. After all, when was the last time you actually bought a CD? Some research suggests almost 60% of vehicle owners showed interest in the subscription vehicle concept, as opposed to traditional ownership. Dealers may need to prepare for shifts in how they accommodate such subscription services. For example, under the terms of on-demand mobility, service and maintenance would no longer be the responsibility of the customer. In the current market, service is based on repair-then-fix occurrence. But in a subscription-driven culture, vehicles will be more preventatively maintained. It also presents an opportunity for long-term relationships with customers, as your product is now a product-as-a-service commodity.
For now, only those in the Houston area will get to try out the Nissan Switch, pilot subscription service. Customers can enroll now through August of this year at nissanswitch.com. Depending on how well consumers embrace this on-demand, car swapping offer, Nissan may opt to expand to other markets as well.