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Dealer Develops Vehicle Subscription Model as Third Option to Drive

“You can buy a car, you can lease a car, or you can subscribe to a car. It’s a third option as a way to drive a car.”

That’s how John Malishenko, COO of Germain Motor Company, describes Drive Germain, their recently-introduced vehicle subscription service. 

Developed on a platform by Clutch Technologies, Drive Germain offers their clientele an opportunity to drive a nearly-new vehicle all the time. 

There are two subscription levels from their Columbus, Ohio location – Premier and Elite. A third economy level is planned for the future. Their vehicle subscription service includes insurance, maintenance, roadside assistance, and even detailing services. 

Another Way to Engage a Customer’s Needs

With 15 successful stores in Columbus, Ann Arbor, Naples, and Dayton, Drive Germain wasn’t borne out of necessity. Rather, it’s the group’s way of keeping ahead of ownership trends. The small yet growing number of customers who would rather not deal with a car dealership in the traditional way have an option: subscription. 

The all-inclusive pricing is set. There’s no need to visit the dealership. Insurance is included with the program. For those who want to regularly change vehicles or simply don’t want the hassle of the traditional car ownership model, Drive Germain is an ideal engagement method.

An app controls the program, from registration and payment to vehicle selection. Vehicles for Drive Germain are purchased from the dealer group’s stores, used for a term, the sold back to the stores for resale. It’s simple, efficient, and customers love it.  

Malishenko says, “Like any new technology, it sounds too good to be true, but there really is no downside. We’re in an industry that’s choking on the overhead of running a dealership. [But with vehicle subscription services], there’s no brick and mortar. There’s really no staff. All the communication with the customer is done through an app and through AI. The customers are highly engaged.”

Staying on the Cutting Edge

For John Malishenko and the Germain team, engaging their customers involves providing a better experience. That means testing the ‘next big thing’, always striving to stay on the cutting edge of trends and technology. 

“Right now, the retail environment is ambiguous, everyone’s trying to guess what’s next. What I know for sure, running dealerships is that I need to figure out how to be relevant because the market is continually changing and evolving and growing. 

The only way I know how to do that is to drive it. Engagement is the purpose. The only way I can differentiate myself as a dealer is to provide a better experience.”

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See the full article as it was originally posted on Center for Performance Improvement

Views: 238

Tags: Service, Subscription, Vehicle


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Comment by Ralph Paglia on February 9, 2018 at 11:48am

Similar to the current existence of "Fleet" and "Commercial" sales departments in dealerships, I can see subscriptions becoming another profit center in many dealerships.

Comment by David DeSantis on February 9, 2018 at 5:11am

Sounds like a similar program the Scott Painter's company is doing,  They have recently acquired Uber's leasing business and raised $1B in debt financing with BMW and Penske this past Fall.

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