Care By Volvo subscription service to start at $600 a month
Volvo will offer its new XC40 via subscription for one price, including insurance, service and wear and tear.
Chris PaukertFormer executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015.
Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Volvo is getting into the subscription business. At Wednesday's Los Angeles Auto Show, the Swedish automaker announced details of its new Care By Volvo program, an all-inclusive, no-haggle subscription service that starts online.
Care By Volvo's subscription plan kicks off with the 2019 XC40 compact SUV that's due in dealers this spring, and pricing starts at $600 a month (exclusive of tax and registration costs). That may sound steep for a small premium crossover, but that dollar figure includes insurance, telematics-based concierge service, roadside assist and all maintenance, right down to allowances for wheel and tire damage, not to mention wear items like tires, wipers and brakes.
Program terms include a 24-month duration and 15,000 miles per year, and just like you can with some mobile phone agreements, customers will be given an option to change vehicles and sign on to a new 24-month term after 12 months. There is no down payment.
With motorists' increasing acceptance of carsharing, subscription-based car models are being viewed by many automakers as both an opportunity and an inevitability. But thus far, only a handful of brands, such as Cadillac, have dipped their toes in the pool (and even then, only in select major cities). Care By Volvo is rolling out nationally.
You won't be able to select any Volvo you want in the showroom if you sign on for Care By Volvo, at least not initially. The program is starting with this pair of XC40 T5 all-wheel drive models, with the better-equipped R-Design running an extra $100/month:
XC40 T5 AWD Momentum with Premium Package, Vision Package, heated front seats and heated steering wheel, panoramic roof and 19-inch black diamond cut wheels
XC40 T5 AWD R-Design with Premium Package, Vision Package, Advanced Package, heated front seats and heated steering wheel, panoramic roof, Harman Kardon Premium Sound and 20-inch, 5 double spoke matte diamond cut wheels
It may seem odd to get insurance through a car company, but it's actually quite common in other countries. With Care By Volvo, customers will be covered by a Liberty Mutual Insurance policy offering $250,000 bodily injury protection per person and $500,000 bodily injury coverage per accident. A $500 deductible applies to both comprehensive and collision coverage.
At least for the time being, Care By Volvo does not promise access to different vehicles from the company's portfolio. One key difference compared to Book By Cadillac, General Motors' premium subscription service, is that the Detroit automaker's program offers access to virtually any vehicle in the brand's portfolio for one price -- in this case, a much costlier $1,800 a month.
If a subscription model isn't your thing, Volvo's XC40 will also be available for traditional outright purchase or lease, beginning at $35,200 for a T5 AWD Momentum model. A less expensive front-drive T4 model will come online in summer 2018, starting at $33,200.