Volvo has launched a subscription service for its full range, promising to be more flexible than any alternative car payment plan. It launches with just one monthly fee and no upfront or cancellation costs. It means, therefore, that a Care by Volvo customer can get in a new car from £559 per month; given the cost of smartphone contracts and housing utility bills these days, that doesn't seem an outrageous amount of money.
Certainly, the XC40 T3 Momentum you get for that entry price is more substantial than even the market's poshest smartphone or washer dryer. The deal is theoretically made sweeter by an opening 30-day 'risk free' offer, where no notice period is required if you want to hand the car back or change for something else. Otherwise, there's a three-month notice period for cancelling or swapping into another Volvo.
Compared with conventional monthly plans like PCP and leasing, and even other examples of car subscription services, it means users are able to chop and change between cars much more quickly. It's easy to understand the appeal of having a Volvo SUV for winter and then something more sporting for the summer months. Or an S90 with the Polestar trimmings, if possible, because we like that sort of Volvo.
Servicing, wear and tear maintenance and 24/7 roadside assistance are included in the fee, as is 10GB of in car Wi-Fi data, the car's road tax and Volvo's customer service support. Buyers can pay more to have insurance coverage, too; and while there's no mention of the option to buy your car outright, we suspect Volvo wouldn't put the phone down if you wanted to take ownership to the next level.
Volvo UK's managing director, Kristian Elvefors, said: "Care by Volvo is another excellent way for people to drive the Volvo they want, and is the ideal service to launch in a rapidly changing consumer landscape. Its introduction means Volvo is now able to offer UK customers the choice of how they access a car - either via traditional forms of finance or subscription - either online or in person at a retailer; in other words, in any way that suits them."
Obviously the service won't be of interest to those who like to get their hands dirty under the bonnet or see their name on the registration documents. But for those wanting a shiny new thing from Sweden without an enormous down payment or, indeed, the requirement to keep it for a long time, the new service does seem rather smart. And, no doubt, a preview of what's to come in the wider industry over the coming years.
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