Lexus is the latest automaker to experiment with a subscription service, although the Toyota luxury brand isn’t using that term. The program is called Lexus Complete Lease, and it has some features of a traditional lease, but it also copies existing subscription services by bundling the cost of a car, insurance, and maintenance into one flat fee.
The Lexus UX crossover is the only vehicle available through the program. Customers who sign up for the mandatory two-year, 20,000-mile term pay a single monthly fee that includes insurance and scheduled maintenance at 5,000-mile intervals. Also included are what Lexus calls “connected services,” such as SiriusXM satellite radio. Lexus did not list pricing.
The program is only available in seven states: California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. It’s being run through Lexus dealers, which also handle maintenance on participating cars. A Lexus press release said the automaker had signed up nearly 80 dealers to participate.
Keeping dealers involved will likely make things easier for Lexus. Dealers are highly suspicious of any program or service that might allow automakers to sell cars directly to customers, potentially threatening dealer business. A group of California dealers is petitioning to block the Care by Volvo subscription service. Increased dealer involvement is also a priority in the Book by Cadillac subscription program reboot.
Despite the potential for conflict with dealers, several automakers are experimenting with subscription services. Most are small-scale pilot programs, however, while Lincoln operates a subscription service with used cars. Jeep will likely be next to give the concept a try. It’s partnering with Avis to launch a pilot program in Boston later this year.
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