Want to Drive a Maserati or Porsche? Now You Can Try a Different Luxury Vehicle Every Week
By the SunSentinel
Dream of driving a Maserati or Porsche, perhaps to your high school reunion? Maybe you’re a winter resident in South Florida who wants a luxury car for a few months. Or perhaps you just want different wheels every week.
Today, there is an option that doesn’t involve buying or leasing. Vehicle subscription services have rolled into South Florida, bringing with them the chance to try high-end cars and trucks without the burden of buying insurance, scheduling maintenance visits or paying for repairs. Available through entrepreneurial startups, dealerships and manufacturers, they allow subscribers to turn in vehicles for a new one every week, month or year, depending on the subscription service.
Harris Glaser, 34, owner of Midnight Express Powerboats in Miami, said he gets bored driving the same car every day. “One day, I want to drive a BMW-M5 and the next, say, I want an SUV,” he said.
So for the past nine months, he has been a member of the Delray-Beach-based Revolve luxury car subscription service.
Revolve members can drive a luxury car such as an Audi or Porsche for $2,300 a month, plus a one-time $500 membership fee. Like a Netflix queue, a member can add vehicles to Revolve’s virtual garage and, when available, the car is delivered to the home or office.
Vehicles can be driven up to 2,000 miles a month under the subscription, and insurance is included.
Revolve has curated a collection of 2017 and 2018 luxury cars, either owned or from a dealer partner, that includes a Range Rover Sport SVR, Audi RS7, Porsche 911 Carrera, Mercedes-AMG GT and BMW X6.
The company has “under 100” members but is growing rapidly, according to CEO Asoka Veeravagu, who co-founded Revolve last year with Scott Blando, chief operating officer.
He said some Revolve customers like to try cars they’re not ready to buy, such as the electric Tesla Model X SUV and Model S sedan, or the new Acura NSX, a $200,000 car.
“People like variety on their terms and not have it dictated to them,” said Veeravagu.
Glaser said the subscription saves him money because “historically, I would keep a car six to 12 months and take a big financial hit” when trading it in.
For Andres Asion, 43, a real estate agent in Miami Beach, the cost of such services is relative.
“If you want to have multiple cars, then it’s not expensive,” said Asion, who subscribes to Davie-based FlexWheels, which services Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. “It’s fun to try out different cars … you’re using them while they’re new and then giving them back.”
FlexWheels, which launched in October, has about 80 subscriptions with customers including car enthusiasts, foreign nationals, dual residents, and those who need wheels while waiting for a vehicle they’ve ordered or waiting to lease, said Erik Day, a partner in FlexWheels with Larry and Warren Zinn, both of the Warren Henry Auto Group in Miami.
“We saw the opportunity for emergence of a subscription product,” said Day, who also is chief financial officer at Warren Henry Auto Group, the participating dealership in FlexWheels.
FlexWheels allows consumers to drive different vehicles, from a Land Rover to a Maserati, on a month-to-month basis.
For $1,200 to $2,800 a month, consumers can choose from vehicles in three price categories. The “Discover” level includes the BMW 230i, Cadillac XTS and Land Rover Discovery Sport. In “Premier,” choices include the Audi A7 Prestige, Porsche Boxster and Porsche Macan GTS. And in the top category, “Dynamic” consumers have the option of the Porsche 911, Maserati Quattroporte and Mercedes-Benz G550.
A FlexWheels subscription includes insurance coverage for any driver of the car as well as any repairs. Since the insurance follows the driver, there’s no need for the consumer to carry any other insurance, Day said.
“You have access to a category of vehicles you could flip in and out of, with none of the headaches and obligations,” Day said.
FlexWheels offers unlimited mileage on its subscription cars, which are new or nearly new, he said.
Manufacturers — including Volvo, Lincoln and Cadillac — also offer car subscription services for their specific brands.
Consumers can subscribe to the new Volvo XC40 for $600 to $700 a month, depending on the model, according to John Falciglia, general sales manager for Gunther Volvo in Coconut Creek.
The 24-month subscription is available online and includes Liberty Mutual insurance, maintenance and wheel road hazard protection. There’s a 15,000-mile allowance, but subscribers can upgrade to a new car after a year.
The customer is responsible for excess wear above a $1,000 waiver and mileage over 15,000 miles a year at 25 cents mile, according to Volvo’s site.
“Volvo is trying to attract millennials,” he said. The subscription is “less of a commitment. There’s one payment and it includes your insurance.”
Since starting in South Florida this spring, Gunther’s subscription service so far has had five orders, Falciglia said.
In this case, a lease is similar, except that consumers risk negative equity and a penalty if they turn in the car before the lease is up, Falciglia said.
Consumers say they like trying new cars and not being stuck with a car they don’t like to drive.
“There are cars I don’t like very much. I call them up and say, ‘The car isn’t for me,’” said Revolve subscriber Dr. David Feldbaum, a vascular surgeon in Pembroke Pines. “They’ll come and switch it out.”
He became an early member of Revolve, he said, because he needs different cars for his lifestyle. Sometimes, it’s an SUV to transport his 10-year-old twin boys and other times it’s a sporty car for the weekend.
Feldbaum said he values his time and likes the convenience of the car being delivered to his home or office. When he had a “fender bender,” Revolve simply came to pick up the car and bring him another, he said. “I didn’t get penalized.”