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Volvo XC40 SUV might mean another subscription in your life

Exploring the idea of making car ownership like getting a phone, the new Care by Volvo plan lets you subscribe to a car for just a monthly fee.

2019 Volvo XC40
Volvo's new subscription plan for the XC40 compact SUV should appeal to younger customers.
Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

You subscribe to a phone plan, cable, food delivery, clothing delivery and an assortment of on-demand video and music services. Get ready for one more monthly subscription payment with Care by Volvo, a new plan being fronted by the Swedish automaker in conjunction with the introduction of its all new XC40 compact SUV.

Volvo will still let you buy or lease the new XC40, but the truly commitment-phobic can also just pay a monthly fee for the car with no down payment or registration. The company will even handle insurance.

And like many phone plans, you can actually get a new XC40 after a year.

Volvo announced Care by Volvo with the introduction of the XC40 last week. This new model slots in under the XC60, a slightly larger SUV in the company's lineup. The XC40 comes standard with many advanced safety features, front-wheel- or all-wheel-drive, and ground clearance of 8.3-inches. Its infotainment system supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus its own very good navigation and stereo systems.

The Care by Volvo plan represents an effort to pioneer new mobility options for a younger generation that might look at traditional car ownership as onerous. Customers will be able to begin the subscription process online. However, Jim Nichols, Product and Technology Communications Manager for Volvo USA, says that local dealers will support the plan by arranging car deliveries. 

Dealers will likely handle maintenance and registration as well, and serve as the customer's connection to the automaker. 

To further modernize the idea of ownership and access in the XC40, Volvo also bakes in sharing through an app. If you want to loan your car to a friend, they can request specific dates to use it on the Volvo app. If you approve, the friend's app will unlock the car and let them drive.

The base price for the new Volvo XC40 comes in at $33,200. Volvo says it will announce pricing for the Care by Volvo monthly subscription during the upcoming Los Angeles auto show, during the last week of November. The company also said it will eventually extend this subscription plan to its other models.