Drivers who want to join a new subscription program from Mercedes, which would allow them access to a large number of the luxury cars without buying any, can sign up. But they can only join if they live in Philadelphia or Nashville. Mercedes launched the program anyway, leaving people in other large cities wanting.
The launch is an effort by Mercedes to show it can compete with other programs from Cadillac, BMW and Porsche. Like these others, it gives drivers access to much of the manufacturer’s lineup for fees that range from $1,095 to $2,995, depending on how many cars the customer wants to pick from. There is a $495 activation fee.
After that, the plan gets very confusing:
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.
Three tiers, two cities, how many prices? Perhaps when the program moves beyond the eighth and 36th largest cities in the United States, the details will be easier to understand.
Mercedes description of the program is similar to that of its rivals:
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.
It is not clear whether the concierge will have a large enough inventory of all the cars on the list to satisfy all requests the same day they are made.
The press release gets Mercedes into the luxury car subscription business, but when it will be available across most large metropolitan areas, Mercedes isn’t saying.