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Subscription service meets the automotive industry in Nashville


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Luxury car maker BMW is conducting an experiment here in Nashville that allows customers to trade vehicles as often as they like on a monthly subscription basis.

BMW of Nashville is partnering with the car company to give the business model a try. Drivers can choose from several cars in one of two tiers or levels. The lowest tier is priced $2,000 a month, with the highest set at $3,700 a month.

BMW Nashville General Manager John McLarty says that price includes insurance, maintenance and even gasoline. Drivers can use a phone app or go online to reserve a vehicle and then pick it up immediately.

McLarty says you can switch cars as often as you like.

“Everything will be placed in the exact location that was in their prior vehicle. So if they have a cup in the left cup holder, that cup’s going in the left cup holder. If they have a sticker on the back left bumper, that sticker’s going on the back left bumper.”

Auto industry watcher Edmunds.com says Cadillac, Ford, Lincoln, Porsche, Volvo and Mercedes are also giving subscriptions a try. But those experiments are taking place in much larger cities, including Dallas, New York, San Francisco, and Atlanta.

Lipscomb University Business Management professor Dr. Andy Borchers says young people are pushing the nation toward what he labels a “sharing economy” where the “notion of ownership is fundamentally changing.”

“Whether it’s streaming music instead of owning the music, or a car I subscribe for, these are all attempts to get at customer they might not otherwise get.”

BMW will begin delivering subscription cars to Nashville residents in May and says the service already has some drivers pre-registered.