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    Thread: Mercedes-Benz Collection monthly subscription service officially launches in Nashville and Philadelphia

    1. Senior Member Ryukein's Avatar
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      06-06-2018 11:41 AM #1


      Quote Originally Posted by Press Release
      Mercedes-Benz launches broadest luxury vehicle subscription plan in the U.S. with "Mercedes-Benz Collection"

      Luxury Vehicle Subscription Service to Launch as Pilot in Nashville and Philadelphia

      Jun 5, 2018 – ATLANTA, GA

      Mercedes-Benz today launched Mercedes-Benz Collection, providing the broadest offering of any luxury automaker for those drivers who prefer the variety and convenience of a subscription service. A collaboration between Mercedes-Benz USA, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA and Mercedes-Benz dealers, Mercedes-Benz Collection allows subscribers to switch between different types of vehicles depending on their needs or lifestyle. The service is available as a pilot in two cities: Nashville, TN and Philadelphia, PA.

      "We're always looking to stay ahead of our customers' needs and wants, as well as to bring new people to the brand," said Dietmar Exler, president and CEO for MBUSA. "We know there is a market opportunity for people who would like the ability to move in and out of vehicles, depending on what they need or want at a particular point in time, or who don't want to own a vehicle right now. That's why we are excited to test the waters with Mercedes-Benz Collection."

      "Customer's appetites are changing when it comes to how they access products and services, and our financial and mobility services are evolving to fit those demands. Adding Mercedes-Benz Collection's subscription services to our product portfolio is a natural fit," said Geoff Robinson, vice president, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA LLC. "We are working to provide one of the most diverse offerings in the market today and expect to learn a lot from this pilot."

      There are three tiers in the program – Signature, Reserve and Premier – with two offered in each city and prices ranging from $1,095 to $2,995 per month (depending on city/level). Subscribers pay a one-time activation fee of $495 and may then choose from all the vehicle body styles offered in that subscription tier, including Mercedes-Benz SUVs, sedans, coupes, cabriolets, roadsters and wagon models. Each tier also allows access to the company's popular high-performance Mercedes-AMG models.

      The Mercedes-Benz Collection works through a combination of the new Mercedes-Benz Collection app and a local concierge. Once subscribed, customers initiate vehicle exchanges, concierge communication and other actions via the app. Concierge staff then ensure the delivery is consistent with the details and preferences in the customer's profile. Subscribers can access any type of vehicle within their tier with no mileage limitations. The monthly subscription fee for the tier also includes insurance, 24/7 roadside assistance and vehicle maintenance.

      How It Works:
      • Those interested can download the Mercedes-Benz Collection app via the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and hit "Sign up"
      • Users then create an account (provide a credit card, select a plan and provide a picture of the driver's license associated with the account).
      • Information is verified, and driving and credit history are checked (subscriber may be contacted with any questions). In most cases, the application is processed and the subscriber is contacted within one business day.
      • Subscriber is contacted to find out his or her vehicle needs and desired delivery time and location. After the first delivery, subscribers put their requests in via the app. Requests received by noon can typically be fulfilled the next day.
      • Concierge delivers the new vehicle washed, with a full tank of gas and takes away the previous vehicle.

      Further information on Mercedes-Benz Collection is available at collection.mbusa.com.
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    3. Member
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      06-06-2018 01:51 PM #2
      That sounds like a really expensive way to lease a car. Does this seem valuable to people with short attention spans that want to change cars out constantly?

    4. Geriatric Member Hostile's Avatar
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      06-06-2018 01:55 PM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by StressStrain View Post
      That sounds like a really expensive way to lease a car. Does this seem valuable to people with short attention spans that want to change cars out constantly?
      I think the main selling point is that you can easily swap into an SUV if you are going on a trip or something.
      iain

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      06-06-2018 02:08 PM #4
      Just checked out the Philly options:

      Reserve: $1,595 per month plus tax

      E400 Sedan
      E400 Estate
      AMG C43 Sedan
      GLE 350
      AMG GLC43
      E400 Coupe
      E400 Cabriolet
      AMG C43 Coupe

      Premier: $2,995 per month plus tax

      AMG E63 Sedan
      AMG C63 Sedan
      S560 Sedan
      AMG GLE S Coupe
      G 550
      GLS 550
      AMG GLE 63 S
      SL 550 Roadster
      AMG C 63 S Coupe

    6. Member whalemingo's Avatar
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      06-06-2018 02:13 PM #5
      That is a whole lot of expensive.
      Lower all the Things.

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      06-06-2018 03:29 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by Hostile View Post
      I think the main selling point is that you can easily swap into an SUV if you are going on a trip or something.
      I'm curious, what's the cost for leasing BOTH an E400 and a GLE350? Less than $1595?

    8. Member Sledge's Avatar
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      06-06-2018 03:43 PM #7
      Remember to include insurance in that calculation.
      Quote Originally Posted by StressStrain View Post
      I'm curious, what's the cost for leasing BOTH an E400 and a GLE350? Less than $1595?
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    9. Moderator Harv's Avatar
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      06-06-2018 03:47 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by StressStrain View Post
      That sounds like a really expensive way to lease a car.
      It surely is, but people pay for convenience.

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      06-06-2018 04:03 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by StressStrain View Post
      I'm curious, what's the cost for leasing BOTH an E400 and a GLE350? Less than $1595?
      Car: Estimate $800/mo/car (36mo/36k miles) - $1600/mo.
      Insurance: Estimate $100/mo/car (almost double what I pay, but whatever) - $200/mo.

      That's $1800/mo. and you're leasing 2 cars. You're basically paying a VERY steep premium to be able to swap... almost double the actual leasing cost of a car.
      When you look at the "Premier" it's roughly the same... you could very nearly lease 2 of those cars.
      Porsche's isn't much better - huge premium.

      I could only see this as a nice option if you can easily stop/start the service when you don't need a car (traveling businessman, etc.).
      Otherwise, it's totally silly the way these services are priced. I'd rather lease a C63S for $1400, + some nice van/suv/cuv for $500 and save myself almost $1000/mo.
      Then there's the fact that you probably can't choose much in the way of options/colors.

      What do I know... I bet there's lots of people with money to waste who think this is a great deal.
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    11. Member vwpiloto's Avatar
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      06-06-2018 04:09 PM #10
      Remember that if you lease the car, you're obligated for 36 months typically. This, aside from a $500 signup fee, you can opt out of at any time with no obligation. It's still expensive though, considering the type of cars you're getting for the price. I'll agree with that. But the lack of commitment might make it worthwhile for someone who may need a car in a certain location for only a few months, like a contract worker working in a distant city for 6 months, etc.

      Out of curiosity, what do people think is the tipping point in terms of price? Would $800/mo (including insurance) make one reconsider buying or leasing?

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      06-29-2020 04:55 PM #11
      Mercedes-Benz USA will halt its two-year vehicle subscription pilot this summer, the latest automaker to walk away from the nascent business model.

      Sales chief Adam Chamberlain described the service, launched in 2018, as a learning exercise to determine whether the alternative ownership model could attract new customers to the luxury brand. The executive said the pilot is ending on schedule.

      "If the demand would have been unbelievable, then it could have gone further," Chamberlain told Automotive News last week. "But demand was just OK, so we kept it."

      The Mercedes-Benz Collection offered subscribers access to about 30 model variants for a monthly fee, which included insurance, 24/7 roadside assistance and vehicle maintenance. Mercedes launched the program in Nashville and Philadelphia. Last summer, it was expanded to Atlanta, home to Mercedes' U.S. headquarters.

      The service drew a few hundred customers, and Mercedes executives had expected it to turn a profit in the first 12 to 18 months. Chamberlain declined to comment on whether the service was ever profitable.

      Changing realities?
      Automakers, dealership groups and third-party technology companies are experimenting with subscription programs in a nod to changing realities.

      New technologies in retailing, coupled with the emergence of affordable and abundant ride-hailing and ride-sharing services, have put pressure on the historical vehicle-ownership model. Instead of consumers buying one vehicle that attempts to meet every driving need, subscription programs allow customers to pick the vehicle for the need — an SUV for when extended family is in town; a convertible for a weekend getaway; a compact for the downtown commute.

      Subscription programs also help lure new customers to an auto brand and encourage existing ones to upgrade models.

      "One of the challenges of our brand is that the average age of our buyers is 55 years," Chamberlain said. "We wanted to see if the program would help bring in younger buyers, and it certainly did."

      About 80 percent of subscribers were new to the brand and were, on average, 10 years younger, Mercedes said.
      "We've got a mountain of data now — it gives us some insights into how we can target that younger audience that clearly have a desire for the brand," Chamberlain said.

      The pilot also validated the popularity of digital applications and platforms — subscribers signed up for the service and managed vehicle ordering and delivery through a smartphone app.

      "It gave us real lessons into how we can attract customers with a more digitized sales process," Chamberlain said.

      Mixed results
      But automakers have had mixed success with vehicle subscriptions. Some programs have struggled to attract enough people who want to pay for the convenience. Others have found customers but struggled to turn a profit.

      Book by Cadillac, a subscription service from General Motors, was put on hiatus in 2018 after few customers bit at the service's $1,800-per-month price. GM is now taking another crack at the program, testing a rebooted version in a dealer pilot.

      Ford Motor Co. walked away from its vehicle subscription business last fall, following lackluster demand.

      Porsche Cars North America, which launched a subscription program in Atlanta in 2017, is having more success. The sports car maker has expanded the program to Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Diego and Toronto.

      "There is a market for shorter-term access to our brand," Porsche Cars North America CEO Klaus Zellmer said in May. "The flexibility and convenience of the program is appealing to a new audience."

      Porsche is seeing enough demand to justify expansion of the program to additional U.S. cities this year, a spokesman said.

      Driving utilization
      Subscription services are the "ultimate noncommittal car-ownership experience," said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at Edmunds.

      Pricey monthly plans, however, have kept these services from gaining mainstream adoption. Mercedes offered four membership tiers, with prices ranging from $1,095 to $3,595 a month.

      "While consumers enjoy easy car ownership, there's a limit to how much they're willing to pay for it," Caldwell said.

      The subscription model also faces an existential threat from a pandemic that is expected to linger for months.

      "COVID-19 really will put the nail in the coffin as the idea of swapping cars is off-putting to most consumers and likely unadvisable by health officials in this environment," Caldwell noted.

      In addition, the Mercedes pilot revealed a challenge that subscription programs grapple with — not enough vehicle swaps.

      "At the start, customers enjoy changing the car," Chamberlain said. "After a certain period of time, that sort of gets old and they want to leave their car with their stuff in it."

      The model doesn't work if vehicles aren't turned over frequently. Without vehicle churn, the automaker would have to stock large volumes of each model variant, making the program too expensive.

      "You need utilization of the vehicles," Chamberlain said. "You've got a depreciating asset and it needs to be used."

      To drive that utilization, vehicles in subscription programs should also be available for short-term rentals and used in loaner fleets, Chamberlain said.
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    13. Moderator Harv's Avatar
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      06-29-2020 08:41 PM #12
      People don't like sharing.

    14. Member Car Problems's Avatar
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      06-29-2020 09:20 PM #13

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      06-29-2020 09:49 PM #14
      "One of the challenges of our brand is that the average age of our buyers is 55 years," Chamberlain said. "We wanted to see if the program would help bring in younger buyers, and it certainly did."
      Rich young people like to buy/lease supercar, not leasing "euro leasing special"

      Poor young people (which is the majority) can't even afford a new car period.

      spending so much $$ on "any kind" of leasing is really a waste...
      Last edited by Avus; 06-29-2020 at 09:52 PM.
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    16. 06-29-2020 10:44 PM #15
      It just makes no sense. All MB starting with C class drive/feel exactly the same. They all have the same interiors, just wood/aluminum in different places. If you drove one you drove them all.

      The only truly different classes are A/CLA, convertibles and AMG GT, that makes for a different experience. Everything in between (plebian C-E-S and all their SUVs) are just 50 shades of grey.

    17. Member MGQ's Avatar
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      06-29-2020 10:50 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by Harv View Post
      People don't like sharing.
      we had the Mercedes collection where you could drive either a CLA, GLA, or Smart car, but they took it away.
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      06-30-2020 12:41 AM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by chocofrappe55 View Post
      It just makes no sense. All MB starting with C class drive/feel exactly the same. They all have the same interiors, just wood/aluminum in different places. If you drove one you drove them all.

      The only truly different classes are A/CLA, convertibles and AMG GT, that makes for a different experience. Everything in between (plebian C-E-S and all their SUVs) are just 50 shades of grey.
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      06-30-2020 01:28 AM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by vwpiloto View Post
      Remember that if you lease the car, you're obligated for 36 months typically. This, aside from a $500 signup fee, you can opt out of at any time with no obligation. It's still expensive though, considering the type of cars you're getting for the price. I'll agree with that. But the lack of commitment might make it worthwhile for someone who may need a car in a certain location for only a few months, like a contract worker working in a distant city for 6 months, etc.

      Out of curiosity, what do people think is the tipping point in terms of price? Would $800/mo (including insurance) make one reconsider buying or leasing?
      Including insurance and maintenance costs, AMG's for around $2,000 is a slam dunk. Lesser cars? Eh. If I was inclined to get a Benz, it would probably be an SUV so I wouldn't really need to have a second car, or rent something for trips.

      But go murder the tires off AMG's for around their normal cost of ownership? Yeah, I could see that being a fairly easy sell. Problem then is you'd had a ton of ruined lease returns.
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