ATLANTA — Mercedes-Benz is expanding its vehicle subscription program to Atlanta, a year after launching the pilot program in Nashville and Philadelphia.
Mercedes-Benz Collection gives subscribers access to 30 model variants for a monthly fee.
Several automakers are experimenting with subscription programs in a nod to changing realities. Rapid technological advancement in the auto industry, coupled with the emergence of affordable and abundant ride-hailing and ride-sharing services, has put pressure on the historical car-ownership model.
Subscription programs, instead of forcing consumers to buy one vehicle for every driving need, allow customers to pick the vehicle for the need -- an SUV for when extended family is in town, a convertible for a weekend getaway or a compact for the downtown commute, for example.
Yet, results have been mixed. While Mercedes and Porsche appear to see strong interest for their programs, others have had a more wobbly start.
The Book by Cadillac vehicle subscription service had skittered along for more than a year when General Motors executives shuttered the venture in November. Few customers bit at the service's $1,800-per-month price.
Volvo's Care by Volvo drew protest from U.S. dealers. In a petition filed in January with the California New Motor Vehicle Board, dealers claim that the service violates franchise laws intended to stop manufacturers from competing with retailers.